If there is any doubt about Joe Thornton’s reasons to join the free agency at Toronto Maple Leafs, he rested on Sunday.
“This is a very good team … I have to win the Stanley Cup and I think this is a great team that can do it,” the 41-year-old told media reporters.
Earlier this week, after spending the last 15 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Thornton joined Maple Leafs, a production of London, Ont., On a league-minimum contract worth 700 700,000. Despite having 179 playoff games under his belt and post-seasoning in 17 of his 22 seasons, running to the final with the Sharks in 2015-16, Thornton never tasted Cup glory.
The result he hopes will change in Toronto – even if Leafs have not won a playoff series since 2004 – is largely due to their No. 1 netminder.
“I love their goal. I really, really do. I think (Frederick Anderson) is a big part of my decision here. I think he’s a great goalie, “said Thornton.
“I think they’re very, very strong. Adding TJ Brady to the backend is really their D, Zach Bogosian coming out, Wayne Simmonds; Morgan Really – This is a really good team and I think it’s going to be a great team in the end. ”
Leaving San Jose – which he called home from being sent to the Sharks on a blockbuster deal from the Boston Bruins when he was 26 – was a very tough call.
“It was the hardest hockey decision I had to make,” he said.
In fact, he took the advice of another Bay-Area legend: Joe Montana, who won four Super Bowls in 13 years with the San Francisco 49ers before joining the Kansas City Chiefs to end his career.