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Penguins Trade Talk

Penguins Trade Talk: Penguins on Joe Thornton’s Shortlist

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Pittsburgh Penguins trade talk Joe Thornton
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 20: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) during the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the San Jose Sharks on February 20, 2020 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Jim Rutherford are shopping for bottom lines help. The team has been sheltering its current fourth line with players who have more experience in the AHL than the NHL. However, prices around the league have skyrocketed over the past few weeks as more teams consider signing their free agents or enter the playoff chase. The Penguins trade needs haven’t changed, but the market has.

Friday night, the National Hockey Now family learned the Penguins are on the shortlist of San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, according to sources close to the player.

Stick tap to our colleagues at Boston Hockey Now, specifically Jimmy Murphy (@murphyslaw74) for getting the scoop. Murphy was the first to report the Boston Bruins interest in Ondrej Kase, whom Boston acquired today.

This is likely Thornton’s last season and San Jose is giving their stalwart a chance to win a Stanley Cup. The Penguins denied San Jose and Thornton that chance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

On Thornton’s shortlist are Colorado, Boston, Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Pittsburgh.

The source indicated the Penguins have at least kicked the tires with San Jose GM Doug Wilson, in addition to the other teams listed. The situation is said to be “very fluid.”

Thornton has traditionally been strong on the faceoff dot with a 54.3% career percentage. However, he has slumped to 49% this season. A Penguins source did confirm the Penguins are concerned about Nick Bjugstad’s recovery timetable, as it relates to being ready for the stretch run. The Penguins are currently 27th in the league on faceoffs.

Thornton, 40, has 25 points in 60 games this season, including just two goals. The playmaking center has mostly remained the top center in San Jose, playing with Timo Meier and Kevin Lebanc. The centerman is averaging just over 15 minutes of ice time per game.

Jumbo Joe is a six-time all-star and the 2006 winner of the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy. He also has a connection to the Penguins beyond losing the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was Thornton’s coach in Boston in 2003-04 and 2005-06 (the 2004-05 season canceled due to a lockout).

Sullivan was the Boston coach when Thornton was traded from Boston to San Jose on Nov. 30, 2005.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Mary Ellen Barber
Mary Ellen Barber
1 year ago

I really hope the Penquins do not bring Joe Thornton here ! He is 10 years passed his prime: everyone thinks how wonderful he is? But during the Playoffs he’s non existent, and he doesn’t end up on the score sheet!

Barb Fulmer
Barb Fulmer
1 year ago

I agree. Hes past his prime, 40 years old.

E.J.
E.J.
1 year ago

If GMJR can’t acquire Pageau, then I’d settle for Thornton in return for a late draft pick. The guy would be a rental, so I don’t care about his age. I care that he can hold his own on d-zone draws and contribute on the PP, where he still can be effective.

Blueger is 38 percent on d-zone draws. No way can he be trusted in a playoff game.

King Penguin
King Penguin
1 year ago

Jumbo Joe > Wayne Train.

Katz
Katz (@paul)
1 year ago

40 y/o several knee surgeries and came up empty in the playoffs. No thx I think Sunday afternoon’s game with Washington will either confirm the current roster is enough or expose this roster as a regular season bluff. Looks like Kreider might head to Nashville? Who knows but in my opinion Zucker is fine but this team isn’t going very deep with Simon still having such an elevated role I said after last years 1st round sweep, following the previous seasons 2nd round exit , that if Simon remained getting so many important minutes and this team exits the playoffs… Read more »

Terrance P O'Toole
Terrance P O'Toole
1 year ago

Thornton cant skate anymore terrible idea

Tony G.
Tony G.
1 year ago

You nailed it, E.J. You don’t acquire Thornton to play on the third line. You play him 6-8 minutes on the power play and in certain face-off situations. Anyone who would take Blueger over Thornton on a key face-off doesn’t know hockey.

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