Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Veteran Center Joe Thornton to One-Year Deal

Joe Thornton in 2017. Photo by Dom Gagne/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

Veteran centerman Joe Thornton is not done playing yet. The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that they have signed the 41-year-old center to a one-year deal worth $700,000.

Next season will be Thornton’s 23rd season playing in the NHL. Thornton had just seven goals and 24 assists in 70 games playing with the San Jose Sharks last season.

Thornton was drafted first overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL draft. Over the course of seven years with the Bruins, Thornton tallied 169 goals and 285 assists. He was then traded to the Sharks in the 2005-2006 season.

In his first season with the Sharks, he won the Art Ross Trophy, scoring the most points of any player during the regular season. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player deemed as being the most valuable to his team.

He played the next 15 seasons with the Sharks, scoring 251 goals and adding 804 assists. While with the Sharks, Thornton led the team to the playoffs 13 times and managed to win one Stanley Cup championship while falling short in one Stanley Cup finals in 2016. to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The deal with Toronto points to Thornton possibly retiring soon and wanting to stay close to home. He is a native of London, Ontario.