Ever since the beginning of free agency we have known that the San Jose Sharks want to move on from center Joe Thornton and start anew. We also know that the New York Rangers are in the market to acquire a number one center either via free agency or trade this offseason.
After choking away a 3-0 series lead in round one of the playoffs last season against the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks have made it clear that they want to shake things up and part ways with Thornton. However, Thornton has a no trade clause and said he is only willing to waive his no trade clause if a deal was reached to send him to the Rangers. While sounding too good to be true for the Rangers’ sake that Thornton, a number one center, would only accept a trade if it was to them, at the same time it is bad for the Rangers’ sake that the puck is in the Sharks’ end.
The Sharks want to trade Thornton but they are not going to just give him up to the Rangers without a hefty return. Also, with Thornton having a salary cap hit of just under $7 million, and the Rangers running short on cash to spend, the Rangers will need the Sharks to retain somewhere close to $2 million of Thornton’s salary in a trade. But, according to insider rumors, the Sharks are not willing to retain any of Thornton’s salary, which should prove to be a deal breaker.
I’m sure the Rangers and Sharks will continue to talk, but if the rumors are indeed true, the Rangers acquiring Thornton seems like a less than likely possibility.
And who knows, this could be a blessing in disguise for the Rangers to hopefully pursue another number one center like Eric Staal. We already have Nash who is invisible in the playoffs, so the last thing we need is to trade for a guy who historically chokes in the playoffs like Thornton.