Since the San Jose Sharks botched a 3-0 series lead to the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, signs show that the Sharks could look to rebuild their team. Already not re-signing veteran defenseman Dan Boyle, the Sharks could look to move centerman and team captain Joe Thornton.
In an interview on TSN, NHL insider Pierre McGuire said there is talk amongst “team decision makers,” that the Chicago Blackhawks could be a potential suitor for the veteran center (18:00 mark). McGuire did state he has yet to hear anything regarding Thornton from Blackhawk general manager Stan Bowman. Thornton would of course have to waive his no trade clause, so it ultimately is up to him if he wants to stay in San Jose, or fill that crucial role of second center to Jonathan Toews that the Blackhawks desperately need.
The Blackhawks of course would have to trade away pieces to acquire the veteran center. The Hawks are in a great spot organizationally speaking. They have their core set with Toews and Patrick Kane, who should also be signed this summer, and a young supporting cast with great potential. If the Hawks want Thornton, and he agrees to waive his no trade clause, look for the Hawks to give up a young forward.
A name that could be tossed around is Drew Leblanc. Leblanc is a former Hobey Baker winner from St. Cloud State. He has played only two NHL games since being signed by the Hawks in 2012, but spent all of last season growing for their AHL affiliate the Rockford Ice Hogs. In 76 games, Leblanc had 22 points; he also played in six games for the United States in the World Junior Championships, registering three assists. The Hawks would also have to give up a current NHL player who could be used right away, or possibly a draft pick.
The Blachawks are in need of a solid second line center. A potential line of Kane, Thornton, and Brandon Saad could prove to be one of the most dangerous lines in the NHL, and it’s a second line. The Blackhawks would be in excellent shape and poised for a Stanley Cup run in 2015. A trade of this caliber could be just what the Hawks need to top the Kings for the Western Conference, as they will likely meet again.