Shawn Thornton and the Boston Bruins parted ways Monday when general manager Peter Chiarelli announced the team decided not to re-sign the 36-year-old free agent.
Thornton will be able to sign with any team when free agency begins July 1.
The veteran winger was a fan favorite in Boston and shared his thoughts on being a Bruin to D.J. Bean of WEEI.com.
“I was very lucky and very fortunate to be part of this city and organization for the last seven years,” Thornton said. “My first thought is I’m very appreciative of them keeping me around for seven years and (letting me) have the role that I’ve played here.”
“They’ve been first-class from Day 1, when Cam (Neely) called me convincing me that this would be a good fit for me, to even today, Peter giving me a face-to-face meeting and a heads up before free agency that I wasn’t coming back. Everything in between was amazing. I’m very lucky and very thankful that I got treated so well when I was here.”
Thornton was part of the Bruins’ fourth line for most of his tenure with the club and brought valuable leadership, toughness, depth scoring and Stanley Cup-winning experience to a B’s roster that was just starting to become playoff-caliber when he arrived prior to the 2007-08 season.
Thornton has tallied 88 points and 906 PIMs in 559 career NHL games, as well as two Stanley Cup titles (2007 with Anaheim Ducks, 2011 with Bruins).