The San Jose Sharks’ season ended in bitter disappointment as they blew a 3-0 first-round playoff series lead to the rival Los Angeles Kings and lost in Game 7.
As the Sharks’ top forward and captain for the last decade, Joe Thornton has shouldered much of the blame for the team’s inability to reach the Stanley Cup Final despite having extraordinary talent.
Thornton, who will turn 35 before next season, has been the subject of trade speculation with the possibility that San Jose either undergoes a full rebuild or breaks up its veteran core.
According to his agent and bother, John, one situation in which Jumbo Joe could consider moving on from the Sharks is if the support from the fans diminished.
“If he felt the fans didn’t want him in San Jose, he might re-think things,” John Thornton said, per David Pollak of The Mercury News.
“He’s perfectly happy there right now,” John added. “He wants to stay there and win the Cup. He believes they still have enough talent.”
As much as Thornton wants to believe the Sharks still are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, the fact is they aren’t on the level of the Pacific Division rival Kings and Anaheim Ducks. With the new playoff format requiring teams to go through divisional opponents in the first two rounds, San Jose is unlikely to reach the Stanley Cup Final if L.A. or Anaheim stands in its way. An argument easily could be made that the Sharks wouldn’t match up well against Central Division opponents such as the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche in potential Western Conference final series.
If Thornton does want to leave, he’ll have a lot of say in which team acquires him because of the no-move clause in his contract.