Longtime Sharks center Joe Thornton to pursue Stanley Cup with Maple Leafs

Mike Brehm, USA TODAY
·2 min read

The one thing missing in Joe Thornton's star-studded career is a Stanley Cup.

Thornton, 41, will pursue that trophy with the Toronto Maple Leafs, signing a one-year deal Friday at the NHL minimum salary of $700,000 after spending 15 years with the San Jose Sharks.

The closest he came to a championship was in 2016, when the Sharks lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final. But the Sharks had the bottom drop out last season after reaching the conference final in 2018-19.

Thornton, a native of Ontario and former league MVP, is the NHL's leading active scorer, ranking 14th all-time with 1,509 points. But with 31 points last season, the playmaking center will have a depth role in Toronto.

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The Maple Leafs, who haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967, have been busy this offseason, adding defensemen T.J. Brodie and Zach Bogosian and forwards Jimmy Vesey and Wayne Simmonds.

Sharks star Brent Burns tweeted that the Maple Leafs have "a great one coming" to their team.

Toronto will now have three former No. 1 picks in the lineup with Auston Matthews (2016), John Tavares (2009) and Thornton (1997).

Thornton, who was drafted by the Boston Bruins and traded to Sharks in 2005-06, is entering his 23rd season.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Thornton joins Toronto Maple Leafs in bid to win first Stanley Cup