Jumbo’s back. Though it was clear from his participation in the morning skate he was set to return, the San Jose Sharks have only now officially activated Joe Thornton from injured reserve. The team has returned Dylan Gambrell to the minor leagues to make room, a trip that he’s already accustomed to, having been sent there already three times this month. Thornton will be in the lineup tonight for the Sharks when they welcome the New York Rangers to town.
Thornton last played on October 5th, but was then taken out of the lineup with swelling in his surgically repaired knee. After an initial scare, it was determined that the injury was just an infection from that surgery and it would only keep him off the ice for a few weeks. Notoriously tough, Thornton has played through several knee injuries in the past while still producing at his normal excellent level. The team needs him to get back to that level if they want to improve on their 6-3-2 start to the season.
The ageless Thornton is expected to return on the team’s top line between Timo Meier and Joe Pavelski, a group that certainly could do some damage if he’s at full strength. Meier already has 12 points in 11 games this season, and leads the Sharks in both goals with eight and plus/minus with a +7 rating. The young forward is finally starting to show off what made him the ninth overall pick in 2015, and should help Thornton quickly get re-acclimated to game speed.