January 2, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) controls the puck against Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. The Sharks defeated the Oilers 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

"Jumbo" Joe Thornton: San Jose's Assist Machine

Joe Thornton

Dec 29, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) reacts to a call during the second period of the game against the Anaheim Ducks at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Each and every game of hockey is undoubtedly a team effort. Every player wins as a group and loses as a group. That’s the type of player that Sharks Captain “Jumbo” Joe Thornton is. He may talk soft as a Captain, but he truly plays with a type of passion that’s just unreal. One of the things about him that I want to write about in this article, though, is his ability as a playmaker.

Many Bostonians still remember Thornton as that 1st overall draft pick in 1997. Even before the four-player trade that saw the big 6′ 4″ 220 lb centerman get traded from the Boston Bruins to the San Jose Sharks, with the exception of the ’00-’01 season with the Bruins he was still wracking up more assists than scoring goals. A lot of coaches have encouraged him to shoot more to this day, but his ability to read and create plays is just absolutely phenomenal.

Joe Thornton Works His Magic vs. Avs (12/23/13)


Current All-Time Assists Ranking

As Joe Thornton continues to climb up the list of NHL All-Time Assists, I’ll show you where he stands as of now (updated as of Jan. 3, 2014):

* Actively Playing

Rank #

Player Name

1 Wayne Gretzky 1963
2 Ron Francis 1249
3 Mark Messier 1193
4 Ray Bourque 1169
5 Paul Coffey 1135
6 Adam Oates 1079
7 Steve Yzerman 1063
8 Gordie Howe 1049
9 Marcel Dionne 1040
10 Mario Lemieux 1033
11 Jaromir Jagr* 1028
12 Joe Sakic 1016
13 Doug Gilmour 964
14 Mark Recchi 956
15 Al MacInnis 934
16 Larry Murphy 929
17 Stan Mikita 925
18 Bryan Trottier 901
19 Phil Housley 894
20 Dale Hawerchuk 891
21 Niklas Lidstrom 878
22 Phil Esposito 873
23 Denis Savard 865
24 Bobby Clarke 852
25 Joe Thornton* 828
26 Alex Delvecchio 825
27 Gilbert Perrault 814
28 Mike Modano 813
29 Johnny Bucyk 813
30 Pierre Turgeon 812
31 Jari Kurri 797
32 Guy Lafleur 793
33 Peter Statsny 789
34 Mats Sundin 785
35 Brian Leetch 781
36 Jean Ratelle 776
37 Vincent Damphousse 773
38 Chris Chelios 763
39 Teemu Selanne* 762
40 Bernie Federko 761
41 Doug Weight 755
42 Larry Robinson 750
43 Denis Potvin 742
44 Norm Ullman 739
45 Bernie Nicholls 734
46 Rod Brind’Amour 732
47 Luc Robitaille 726
48 Jean Beliveau 712
49 Scott Stevens 712
50 Jeremy Roenick 703



The Big Question Is…

Almost everyone pretty much knows the situation with the current Captain of the San Jose Sharks, given that he’s part ofthe “Big Three” who’ve not been given contract extensions yet or if ever. Even with the big question mark (what happens next for them) looming above their heads, Thornton’s still showing he’s got plenty of energy left in the tank and is playing perhaps the best hockey of his career.

I asked Sharks Radio Color Commentator and Former Shark Jamie Baker (@Bakes_Jamie13) what he thought of the ability of Joe Thornton as a playermaker (a fellow fan also chipped in):

(With a little confusion at my original question, so after explaining what the question was for and a little rephrasing…)


And now here’s Bakes…


Whether or not he’ll continue to stay in San Jose with the others for the remaining of the season bearing in mind of the Trade Deadline coming up soon remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure, if he’s going to stay and retire a Shark he deserves to win the Cup by now and get the nod for the HHOF.

Tags: Joe Thornton Jumbo Joe San Jose Sharks

comments powered by Disqus