Getting his reps in with Switzerland’s HC Davos, Joe Thornton has had a good start to the 2020-21 season with five points in three games. While his offensive numbers speak for themselves, it’s his presence in the dressing room that could be the most valuable part that he brings to the Toronto Maple Leafs when the new season kicks off – something Spittin’ Chiclets host Paul Bissonnette spoke about recently on Good Show.
In the interview, Bissonnette discusses the Maple Leafs offseason moves and goes on to mention how the addition of Thornton will be especially helpful when and if the team goes through some rough patches in the 2020-21 season.
He explains that the experience of Thornton off the ice could deflect some of the negative attention from other players as well as the team as a whole in these situations having gone through it time and time again – especially in a hockey-centric city like Toronto.
Now, Thornton hasn’t always been known for holding his tongue when it comes to post-game scrums and that shouldn’t change in Toronto. In fact, his dry, witty responses should play well in a hockey mecca such as the home of his new club.
On top of that, the distraction that he could provide in that locker room could actually bring a calmness to the Maple Leafs in times in which they would normally buckle and fall apart. This could be beneficial to a team that remains relatively young when it comes to their core talent.
As for on the ice, we all know what to expect from the aging playmaker. While he is 41 years old, Thornton will provide the same kind of intensity and ferociousness that he has played with over the entirety of his career. That said, don’t expect him to be a 70-point forward anymore. If he reaches the 35 to 40-point mark, the Maple Leafs and Leafs Nation should consider his contract a win when they look back on it.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.