Veteran forward Joe Thornton won’t get to spend the holiday season in Switzerland after all. The 41-year-old has been recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs and is on his way back to North America to begin his pre-training camp quarantine.
Thornton was signed to a one-year, $700K contract with the Maple Leafs this offseason but had been playing in Switzerland for HC Davos, where his family usually spends the summer. In 12 games for the club, he scored 11 points, a short return for one of the most legendary players in Davos history (despite his relatively low games played totals). Thornton had previously spent the 2004-05 lockout with Davos and had returned for the first half of 2012-13 when the NHL was on hold once again.
The former San Jose Sharks captain will start a new chapter of his hockey career in Toronto, the club that his father cheered for and one just a few hours up the road from his St. Thomas childhood home. While some may snicker at the idea that Thornton would chase a Stanley Cup in Toronto—a team that hasn’t won in more than 50 years—there’s no doubting the team is loaded with talent. Whether the addition of a grizzled veteran will take them over the top is still to be determined, though detractors will point out that Thornton himself has never sipped from the Cup.
Another thing that isn’t quite so certain yet is whether Thornton even has any game left. His point totals dropped off a cliff last season for the Sharks and though he has told the media he feels refreshed after the long break, 41 is 41.