[Sunday Mashup] A Jumbo Rumour

San Jose Sharks Captain Joe Thorton (19) skates around during a break in the 3rd period as the Anaheim Ducks take on the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose, California on Saturday, November 30, 2013. (Aris Bernales/SFBay)

Yesterday, rumour broke that the Maple Leafs are one of six teams expressing interest Joe Thornton.

It’s a rumour we’ve all fantasized about since Mats Sundin left in 2008: Trading for, as one esteemed AM640 post-game caller once called him, “Horton, the one who plays with Choochoo” [insert Andy Frost’s epic “JOE THORNTON!?” retort here].

Who doesn’t like the general idea of acquiring Joe Thornton, an elite playmaker and big-bodied center who is always near the top of the League in assists? He’s probably got a couple of good years left in him. In my particular fantasy, I’d play him with Clarkson and maybe JvR, creating a great little line that can go to work down low. Thornton is dominant at protecting the puck, making skilled plays in tight spaces and is an elite distributor of the puck. Clarkson is a slow-cycle type of player, cannot create offensive opportunity on his own and could use the service. It all sounds perfect in my head.

And I’d build a nice little package around some combination of Tyler Bozak, James Reimer and/or Cody Franson to do it.

But then there’s reality. He may not even move, first of all, and won’t be if his brother-agent’s reaction to the rumour is any indication. Secondly, he’d need to waive his NMC to come to Toronto (who are not a contender, which is critical) and appears to have no interest in leaving San Jose. Thirdly, Doug Wilson is going to want a package that includes the next 10-15 years of Jake Gardiner (or Nazem Kadri) to make this deal for a 35-year-old Thornton  happen. It’s only the type of deal the Leafs could make if they knew they were a veteran 70pt center away from having a real chance at the Stanley Cup in the next 2 years and had the depth to do it without one of those young two players. Alas, they aren’t and they don’t.

It’s a nice thought, but these aren’t the early-millennium Maple Leafs from the precap era. Unless Wilson wants to entertain my fantasy trade proposal (and Thornton is willing to come here), the slow build, however wobbly it may be, likely continues.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • djamon

    This rumour makes me scared.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    I honestly can’t see us giving up neither Gardiner nor Kadri for Thornton.  Spare parts??….sure.  Reimer, Gunnar, Franson??  Sure.  Nothing substantial though.  I mean, look at what SJ gave up to acquire him in the first place.  Thornton isn’t worth much these days, even if he does have a couple years left in the tank.  Giving up youth stupid.

  • Xxxxxnew

    Rumour earlier in the day was leafs expressed interest. People here filled in the blanks about who leafs would give up according to their own like and dislikes.

  • Xxxxxnew

    Who are these young coaches with innovative ideas who keep taking their teams to the Stanley Cup finals?

  • Doorman

    Fuck that Noise!!!   NO WAY!!!

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Maurice – yeah we sacked him

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    As far as Im concerned trading Phanny is just stupid. Hes getting 7million because of the workload hes playing. Compare his wage per minute on the ice and hes one of our cheaper and better options.

    Big Joe is a great player but WHY do we need him. I believe in vets coming in to guide youngsters who play in the same possition – a kind of follow my lead teacher. BUT all the deals have Kadri going in the opposite direction and unless Holland is billed as the new 1st line center to be Thornton is just an expensive quick fix.
    Id rather throw 8 million on a young Stastny now entering his prime than the same money on a mid 30’s player, on the decline and will never put up numbers like he does with SJ as he will be playing under pressure with bit parts and under achievers.
    My shopping list in regards centers would be Stastny and throw money at it. Also trade for Zibanejad. Resign Bolland and put Kadri on the wing.
    With centers 1C.Stastny 2/3C Bozak 2/3C Bolland and 4C Holland we will still have Kadri 2RW and Zibanejad 3RW in reserve. So it gives us a few more years to see if Kadri will actually make a decent centerman, see how Zibanejad progresses, gives time for Holland and keeps our core together should something go terribly wrong whilst adding a recognised 1st liner and help for Kessel.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Zero chance we are trading young talent for an aging star.  ZERO. 

    However, to have a 1st line C to play with Kessel sure would be fun.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    However the diehard fans around here (not like HH or Belfour) better get ready and used to the idea that big changes are coming.
    Timmy L and Shanny will FORCE Nonis off his passive ass in order to make some splashes in the pool this summer.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Dewy Hogturd (aka, ~Keon) Hey Dewy, how can you not appreciate his talent?  Big, tough,point producing, and fun loving guy.

    Just like you.