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Will Joe Thornton Get In The Hockey Hall Of Fame?

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Joe Thornton is going to be an interesting test case for the Hockey Hall of Fame even though he clearly should be a no-brainer. But no question there are those who will hold his lack of a Stanley Cup against him. Of course, he still has time to win one before his career is out. But even if he doesn’t, it would be ridiculous to make that argument against him. His career screams Hall of Famer.

The Case For

Thornton, a consistent top-end point producer his entire career, currently sits 36th all-time in regular-season points with 1,259 (358 goals-901 assists), ahead of Hall of Famers Michel Goulet, Bernie Federko, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Bossy and Glenn Anderson, among others.

And he’s still got a few more seasons left in his career. For example, say the 36-year-old center plays three more seasons and I’m very conservative here in projecting 60 points a year. That puts him on pace for 1,439 career points, which would rank him 16th all-time, sandwiched between Teemu Selanne and Bryan Trottier.

As it stands, his 901 career assists are 19th all-time already, one assist away from passing Bryan Trottier.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joe+thornton


Nathan's avatar

Guy will probably finish with 400 goals and 1000 assists. That’s a definite yes. He remade his game and became a better defensive player when it was needed. The Sharks’ inability to win a Cup is a team failure, not a single player’s failure. And frankly, there was probably some bad luck in there—it’s hard to win four rounds in the playoffs. Some of the various iterations of the Sharks teams that threatened for the Cup were probably better teams than some of the eventual Cup winners throughout the same period. Them’s the breaks.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/01/15 at 10:35 AM ET


Agreed; this is an obvious yes, and really the only ones saying “no” must either have a personal ax to grind with Thornton or the Sharks, or else just really overrate winning Stanley Cups as a Hall credential (especially in a 30-team league).

Won the Hart and Art Ross in 2005-06. Was a first-team all star that same year and made the second team two other times, playing by far the deepest position in the NHL (and thus the hardest to earn all-star berths) in a 30-team league. Finished top-5 in league scoring 4 times. Finished top-5 in assists 7 times (including three 1sts), and top-10 in every season from 2002-03 to present besides 2013. Already has 1259 career points and could conceivably add 300+ more depending on health and desire to continue his career. Still an elite scorer and possession driver at age 35.

His credentials fit firmly into the “slam dunk” category. Is he Wayne Gretzky? Of course not, but his case is stronger than the majority of players already enshrined.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/01/15 at 10:54 AM ET

pautna's avatar

“...really the only ones saying “no” must either have a personal ax to grind with Thornton or the Sharks” Nope, I don’t even know him personally or the Sharks, so that doesn’t make sense. Am I a hockey fan who has seen him play a lot with an informed opinion? Sure.

“...or else just really overrate winning Stanley Cups as a Hall credential” How can winning a Stanley Cup EVER be overrated? Plus, it’s how he hasn’t won any cups. He has been the CAPTAIN of a group of players that have found amazing ways to choke. Not once, not twice, but MANY times. I’ve seen him quit on the ice. I’ve seen him FAIL miserably when it comes to playoff hockey. I’ve seen him disappear when his team needs him the most. I’ve seen a lot more, but I’ll stop here.

The bottom line is he’s a classless loser and that’s not who we celebrate in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Posted by pautna on 09/02/15 at 03:07 PM ET

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