Joe Thornton made his Toronto Maple Leafs debut on Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.
Sports fans are bound to see a longtime face of the franchise depart to join another squad, and to be honest, it just feels weird. Some examples include Michael Jordan playing for the Washington Wizards, Tony Parker suiting up for the Charlotte Hornets and even Tom Brady donning a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform.
When it comes to veteran center Joe Thornton, it’s just weird seeing the man called “Jumbo” wear a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform. NHL fans got their first look of Thornton sporting his new uniform in the Toronto’s regular-season opener against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
— David Nestico (@davidnestico200) January 13, 2021
Thornton looks weird not wearing a Sharks sweater
In his debut, Thornton started on the first line alongside young stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Thornton logged two shots on goal, one hit, one block and one giveaway in 17:30 of playing time in Toronto’s 5-4 overtime victory.
Thornton was the first-overall pick of the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL Draft, where he spent the better part of eight years with the organization. In the middle of the 2005-06 season, Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks, where he’d be a mainstay for the past decade and a half. The veteran center received his only chance at the Stanley Cup in 2016, but the Sharks fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. Thornton would return to San Jose on one-year contracts in 2017 through 2019 in hopes of winning the Cup, but to no avail.
In his career, Thornton has 1,509 points (420 goals and 1,089 assists) to his credit, as well as six All-Star nominations, a Hart Memorial Trophy and an Art Ross Trophy.
At 41-years-old, Thornton hopes his playmaking abilities will help take the Leafs over the hump this season and to their first Stanley Cup Finals win since 1967. It’s still going to be weird to see him wear a Maple Leafs sweater throughout this campaign, but arguably not as odd as seeing Zdeno Chara suit up for the Washington Capitals.