CSN Bay Area Insider Kevin Kurz went into detail about the idea of the San Jose Sharks moving Joe Thornton also posed by Examiner Wednesday, May 28. With only the signing of assistant general manager Joe Will to compete with for real team news on the day, such speculation is far more captivating.
The trouble is the article also reported that John Thornton, Joe's brother and agent, said the San Jose captain does not want to leave. Yet Kurz thoroughly explored how a new direction spoken of in offseason comments by general manager Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan could change that.
The first thing is that it is obvious Thornton will not be captain next season. Both Wilson and McLellan talked about turning leadership over to younger players, and it is pretty obvious they are looking at Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture.
Kurz suggested the "smart money" was on Pavelski, but McLellan frequently lauded Couture as a future captain during the 2013-14 NHL season. A previous Examiner article outlined that it should go to Vlasic to reward his consistent responsibility.
Whoever is chosen, the other two will wear the "A" on their sweater. Most teams only dish two of those out, so that leaves no other Sharks with a letter.
Could Thornton not only accept being stripped of the captaincy, but any letter? He probably already saw Couture passing him for the top-line center role, but what if the drop in ice time is almost exclusively on the offensive end where the play-making forward is in his natural habitat?
Why go through all of that in an environment that obviously (and rightfully) blames your failed leadership for the lack of a Stanley Cup? However, statements that he does not want to leave San Jose do give him more leverage to choose the next destination.
Just over a month from his 35th birthday, Thornton will want to go somewhere he can win right away. The Sharks will want a return that allows them to get better.
That could mean a draft pick that can make them better down the road, a young player that will be better in the near future or a star that can take them in a more positive direction right away. That is why the most likely of the photo list of potential homes for Thornton to start the 2014-15 NHL season will still be San Jose.