LA Kings: Joe Thornton out of San Jose is a good thing

(Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) /

The LA Kings will be thankful not to play against Joe Thornton anymore, as he dominated the team when he was with the Sharks.

Joe Thornton‘s message was plain and simple on why he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, “I want to win a Stanley Cup.” The Sharks and LA Kings were two of the seven teams that failed to qualify for the playoff bubble, and both are in their respective stages of the franchise’s rebuild.

Thornton was the first overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins. He was traded to the San Jose Sharks in the 2005-2006 season, where he would begin a reign of terror over the LA Kings for the next 15 years.

With San Jose, the 41-year-old tallied 251 goals with 804 assists in over 1100 games played. As you might imagine, he did a lot of the damage against the Pacific Division simply because he saw those teams the most. However, there was something about playing the LA Kings that turned Thornton’s game up at a notch.

In all, he scored 19 goals with 63 assists in 91 games against Los Angeles. His 92 points were the second-most against any team in the league next to Arizona. Thornton had five power play goals and a +18 rating against LA as well.

The Kings actually had some level of interest in Thornton when he was a free agent back in the summer of 2017. He wound up staying in San Jose. And while he had some ties to members of the Kings’ organization, at the time, it wouldn’t have been a bad way to stop the bleeding.

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Thornton figures to slot into the fourth line center, alongside Jason Spezza and Jimmy Vesey, which provides excellent depth on the Maple Leafs roster.