Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Joe Thornton
At 15, Joe Thornton was drafted into the OHL by the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds with the team's first pick, second overall. In his first season, 1995-96, Thornton was the talk of the hockey world. He won the OHL rookie-of-the-year award for his 76 points in 66 games. He was also named the Canadian Major Junior rookie-of-the-year. He was tall and wiry at 6' 4" and 180 pounds, and was known more for his quick shot and playmaking skills than his physical play.

Many hockey scouts predicted that the draft class of 1997 would be one of the deepest on record and Thornton headed the list of a dozen young players from around the world that appeared to be on the track to bona fide stardom at the professional level. He began to get more and more attention, from the press, fans, and, of course, opposing players.

In his second OHL season, Thornton exploded for 122 points in 59 games. He added 19 points in 11 playoff games and cemented his place at the top of his class, winning a gold medal with Canada at the 1997 World Junior Championships. He was the youngest player on the Canadian team. Boston made him the first pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, surprising no one, and added another budding star, Sergei Samsonov, with the eighth overall pick.

Thornton's bid to improve the team was cut short when he was injured in an exhibition game in September. A broken forearm kept him out of the young Boston lineup for the first three games of the season. Later in the year he missed 10 games with cellulitis in his ankle and another six games with a viral infection. Each time that he seemed ready to establish himself on the team and in the league, an injury would slow his progress.

Boston coach Pat Burns also insisted on bringing Thornton along slowly. The young center with the curly blond hair made plenty of fans but had little impact on the scoresheet, finishing the season with only seven points in 55 games.

Thornton dedicated himself in the off season to preparing himself physically for the long grind of his second NHL season. He hit the gym and put on weight, going from just under 200 pounds to 215. The London, Ontario native went to score 41 points in 1998-99 and 60 points the following year. Over the next two years Thornton continued to put up impressive numbers, however it wasn't until the 2002-03 season that the burly centreman established himself as one of the premier players in the league. In his breakthrough season Thornton was only one of three players to notch over 100 points during the regular season, finishing the year with 36 goals and 65 assists for 101 points and was voted to the NHL's 2nd All-Star Team.

In 2003-04, Thorton saw his point totals drop off (23-50-73) and the Bruins who had finished first in the Northeast, were eliminated in the first round of the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs. Upon being eliminated from the post season, Thornton was added to Canada's entry for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and went on to become a key contributor for the club throughout the tournament and in their victory over Finland in the final.

After suiting for HC Davos in the Swiss Elite League in 2004-05, Thornton made his second appearance at the World Championship (first was in 2001), helping Canada capture a silver medal in 2005. Following a season in Switzerland due to the NHL lockout, Thornton returned to Boston in the fall of 2005 and remained the team's captain and on-ice leader. However, with the team struggling Thornton, who had signed three year contract earlier that summer was shipped to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Wayne Primeau, Marco Sturm and Brad Stuart.

As a member of the San Jose Sharks, Thornton made an immediate impact as he recorded 14 points in his first 6 games with the club. His linemate Jonathon Cheechoo, became a 50-goal scorer and winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy while Thronton won both the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy.

The following season, "Jumbo" Joe continued to put up points at a prodigious pace. This time racking up 29 goals to go along with 67 assists.

In 2009-10, along with teammates Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley, the trio combined to be one of the most feared lines in the NHL. Thornton would go on to finish second in the league with 69 assists while helping both Marleau and Heatley to finish in the top ten NHL goal scorers.

On the international stage, Thornton was part of the Canadian team that captured gold on home soil at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1993-94 Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs Minor-ON 67 83 85 168 45
1993-94 St. Thomas Stars ON-Jr.B 6 2 6 8 2
1994-95 St. Thomas Stars ON-Jr.B 50 40 64 104 53
1995-96 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 66 30 46 76 53 4 1 1 2 11
1995-96 Canada U-18 5 5 6 11 16
1996-97 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 59 41 81 122 123 +29 11 11 8 19 24
1996-97 Canada WJC-A 7 2 2 4 0
1997-98 Boston Bruins NHL 55 3 4 7 19 -6 6 0 0 0 9
1998-99 Boston Bruins NHL 81 16 25 41 69 +3 11 3 6 9 4
1999-00 Boston Bruins NHL 81 23 37 60 82 -5
2000-01 Boston Bruins NHL 72 37 34 71 107 -4
2000-01 Canada WC-A 6 1 1 2 6 +1
2001-02 Boston Bruins NHL 66 22 46 68 127 +7 6 2 4 6 10
2002-03 Boston Bruins NHL 77 36 65 101 109 +12 5 1 2 3 4
2003-04 Boston Bruins NHL 77 23 50 73 98 +18 7 0 0 0 14
2004-05 Canada W-Cup 6 1 5 6 0 +4
2004-05 HC Davos Swiss 40 10 44 54 80 14 4 20 24 29
2004-05 Canada WC-A 9 6 10 16 4 +7
2005-06 Boston Bruins NHL 23 9 24 33 6 0
2005-06 San Jose Sharks NHL 58 20 72 92 55 +31 11 2 7 9 12
2005-06 Canada Olympics 6 1 2 3 0 -1
2006-07 San Jose Sharks NHL 82 22 92 114 44 +24 11 1 10 11 10
2007-08 San Jose Sharks NHL 82 29 67 96 59 +18 13 2 8 10 2
2008-09 San Jose Sharks NHL 82 25 61 86 56 +16 6 1 4 5 5
2009-10 San Jose Sharks NHL 79 20 69 89 54 +17 15 3 9 12 18
2009-10 Canada Olympics 7 1 1 2 0 -1
2010-11 San Jose Sharks NHL 80 21 49 70 47 +4 18 3 14 17 16
2011-12 San Jose Sharks NHL 82 18 59 77 31 +17 5 2 3 5 2
2012-13 HC Davos Swiss 33 12 24 36 43
2012-13 San Jose Sharks NHL 48 7 33 40 26 +6 11 2 8 10 2
2013-14 San Jose Sharks NHL 82 11 65 76 32 +20 7 2 1 3 8
NHL Totals 1207 342 852 1194 1021 132 24 76 100 116


OHL All-Rookie Team (1996)
OHL Rookie of the Year (1996)
Canadian Major Junior Rookie of the Year (1996)
OHL Second All-Star Team (1997)
NHL Second All-Star Team (2003, 2008) NHL First All-Star Team (2006) Art Ross Trophy (2006) Hart Memorial Trophy (2006) Played in NHL All-Star Game (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009)
Signed as a free agent by Davos (Swiss), July 8, 2004. Traded to San Jose by Boston for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau, November 30, 2005. Signed as a free agent by Davos (Swiss), September 16, 2012.