Thornton was placed on injured reserve on October 30 with an undisclosed injury. The night before, ’Jumbo’ played just 6:34 before leaving a game against the Detroit Red Wings.
In just six games this season, the 42-year-old Thornton’s got just one goal and a -2 rating but is still averaging over 10 minutes a night. Some added depth at center is a good thing for Florida right now, who is now without captain Aleksander Barkov on a week-to-week basis after sustaining a knee injury.
Expected to center the third line for the game against the Devils, he’ll be flanked by Frank Vatrano and Owen Tippett who’ve played well in depth roles, combining for seven goals and 14 points so far on the year. With the Panthers’ health issues, though, the lineups could certainly be in flux over the next few games.
Thornton joined the Panthers this offseason, signing a one-year, league-minimum deal on August 13.