NHL Rumors: Joe Thornton, Evan Rodrigues, and more

joe thornton
Apr 28, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Florida Panthers center Joe Thornton (19) gets in position for a faceoff in the first period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

When the 2021-22 NHL Season ended, many wondered if this would be the last for Joe Thornton.

“My wife was kind of asking me last night,” Thornton said on breakup day. “And really, I have no plans. It’s kind of exciting that way. I came here to win a championship, and we fell short of that. But I think the Florida Panthers are going to be good for a long time. It’s exciting around here now.”

While he may not yet be ready to retire, one place he won’t be playing next season is with the Panthers.

NHL Rumors: Joe Thornton’s future

According to Florida Hockey Now, Thornton’s wife posted a brief message on Instagram that read: “South Florida, I loved our time together! This breakup hurts and I will miss you.”

Thornton, 43, registered 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 34 games with Florida on a one-year deal last season.

So have we finally seen the end of the line for Jumbo Joe Thornton?

“I’ve been privileged to play this game for a long time,” Thornton said before the summer. “I don’t take anything for granted.”

For his career, in 1714 games he has amassed 1539 points. The former first overall pick by the Boston Bruins in 1997 also has a Hart and Art Ross trophy to his name.

His good friend, Patrick Marleau officially retired on May 10, 2022 after an incredible 23-year career that saw him leave as the NHL’s all-time leader in games played at 1779. If Thornton were to lace them up for another year, it would make for an interesting storyline in 2022-23.

Even if Thornton doesn’t play in the NHL this upcoming season, there’s nothing stopping him from going back to Switzerland. HC Davos is where Joe played in three different stints (2004-05, 2012-13, and 2020-21) and it may be an option again should he so choose.

There was a rumor circulating last month that he could also step into a Swiss League executive role.

Asked about it by Blick, Spengler Cup president Marc Gianola did not want to confirm that Thornton will become the new Head of Sports: “This is just one of many options we have offered him,” he says.

Swiss Hockey News

NHL Rumors: Evan Rodrigues back with Pens?

nhl rumors evan rodrigues
Jan 2, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evan Rodrigues (9) and right wing Bryan Rust (17) celebrate a third goal by Rodrigues against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. Rust would score an empty net goal later in the period to record his own hat trick. The Penguins won 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As we inch closer to the opening of training camp, a number of free agents are still looking for a home. One of them being Evan Rodrigues, who could make a return to Pittsburgh according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

Per Rodrigues’ agent Darren Ferris, there are around 7-8 teams interested in signing the center/winger, but the hold up is their ability to move money out to accommodate. One of the other teams that Wyshynski cites as a contender to land him are the Calgary Flames.

That echoes a recent report by Elliotte Friedman on his 32 Thoughts Podcast stating GM Brad Treliving may not be done improving his roster.

“I think they’re going to add another forward,” Friedman said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they sniffed around on Evan Rodrigues.”

Other teams that could be looking at Rodrigues are the Canucks, Stars, and Islanders. Last season, the 29 year-old amassed 43 points in 82 games on a one-year deal worth $1,000,000.

Wyshynski’s article also notes that Keith Yandle is staying in shape looking for an opportunity. He adds that defenseman Danny DeKeyser is being presented as a Jack Johnson type signing, after he helped the Avalanche win the Cup last season.