Doug Wilson has made one move already, should he consider a bigger one moving forward?
Things couldn’t be better for San Jose Sharks fans. The team has gained points in 16 of their last 19 contests and have a 98.4% chance of making the playoffs. So when someone brings up the possibility of trading Joe Thornton, many Sharks fans will be skeptical of the idea. Even if fans are tired of defending Thornton and Patrick Marleau, trading the Sharks’ best player isn’t a horrible idea.
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Think about what would happen if Thornton was made available this week. He would be one of the best players available and the team that trades for him will likely have the best center depth in the NHL. With the insanity that is present during the trade deadline, the Sharks will bring in a fortune for him. I understand Thornton has not shown any signs of slowing down but cashing in on an asset that could start declining would be a smart move.
So trading Thornton isn’t a horrible idea, but the thought of doing so would be crazy (just like the trade deadline). I guess there is an argument for increasing trade value through a small sample size but as of late, Thornton has been on a tear.
I wonder what trading someone who has been playing like Thornton would do for chemistry in the locker room. Also, players such as Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl will experience a decrease in production without their anchor at center. So the 2015-16 Sharks will take a massive hit and with their first-round pick going to the Boston Bruins, such a trade would be the biggest risk in franchise history.
But even with Thornton and Marleau, are the Sharks winning the Stanley Cup? I can think of at least five teams that will beat the Sharks in a playoff series. Since winning the Cup is the ultimate goal, there is no point in keeping the pair if that can’t be reached. So starting over from scratch is the more sensible move.
Granted if this happens, the short-term future won’t be pretty. However with Thornton’s contract expiring in the summer of 2017, the time to pull the trigger is now. There isn’t a better opportunity to make this trade then during the trade deadline.
The caveat in this situation is the no-trade clause that Thornton possesses. While I think the chances are slim that he will willingly go to another team, the drama that followed the reverse sweep in 2014 might have stuck. This trade is unlikely but let’s stop pretending that this trade isn’t possible. The future Sharks have a lot to benefit from a Joe Thornton trade.