The National Hockey League was lucky to have Joe Thornton in the NHL for so long. Not only was he an outstanding player, but he was also a better human being. The league was much better for him being in it. He spent time with the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Florida Panthers.
Of course, Thornton was the first overall pick by the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL Draft. He spent parts of eight years with the Bruins and they were all outstanding. He started to establish himself as one of the best players in the NHL while he was there.
In the 2005-06 season, Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks. He became the first player in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy in a season in which he was traded. He led the league with 125 points that year.
He ended up playing with the Sharks for a total of 15 years and that is where he became a true NHL legend. He followed that up with a cup of coffee with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers to end his career.
San Jose Sharks legend Joe Thornton is retiring from the National Hockey League.
On Saturday, it came out that Thornton was finally retiring from the NHL. It ends what was a remarkable 24-year career. He lived up to being the first overall pick and then some.
His career officially ends with 1714 games played. In those games, he had 430 goals and 1109 assists for 1539 points. Those are some gaudy statistics for someone who was one of the best players during his time.
Having over 1100 assists shows how good of a playmaker he actually was. He had more assists than most players ever have points. Scoring 430 goals is no joke either. There is no doubt that he’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Now, he has moved on after this incredible career. He made this announcement with a perfect video on social media. He was someone that everyone loved watching and now it should be so fun seeing what he does next.
Thornton will go down as one of the greatest players to never win the Stanley Cup. He had some close calls including a trip to the Final with the Sharks in 2016. Those teams with Thornton along with Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Brent Burns amongst others were so awesome.
The NHL will never have another like Joe Thornton but he will always be fondly remembered. We can only hope that he finds happiness with whatever is next.