#2 — Elliotte Friedman on future Leaf Joe Thornton and more

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Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!

It was back in February when there was lots of smoke around Joe Thornton and the Toronto Maple Leafs. And a few days after the trade deadline, Elliotte Friedman had some thoughts on Jumbo and the Leafs.

TLN editor Jon Steitzer wrote about it in a piece that was the 2nd more read article this year.

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Elliotte Friedman on future Leaf Joe Thornton and more

Here’s some of what Steitzer wrote:

So let’s start there with Elliotte Friedman’s thought(s) on Joe Thornton coming to Toronto…

If Thornton is not sold on the Sharks, and he’s willing to seek out new life (boldly go where no one has gone before), my prediction is Toronto will be a factor. I can’t confirm this, but I believe the Maple Leafs considered adding him now.

Elliotte goes on to discuss how optically it didn’t make sense for Dubas at the deadline, but next season could make more sense…

Thornton’s made it clear he will make his salary fit. He’s a left-hand shot who could feed Auston Matthews/John Tavares from his strong side. (They have spent plenty of time with Zach Hyman and William Nylander on their weak sides, although both have had strong seasons.)

So the Leafs are most certainly still in cap hell this summer and there is a very good chance that some of the players you are currently enjoying as Leafs now, won’t be back next year. Also, some of the players you’ve wanted gone for a while will disappear, so it’s a mixed bag.

Thornton might not come in at the absolute bargain Spezza did, and it’s doubtful that Spezza will even be that much of a bargain next summer, but potentially the Leafs could add Thornton as an affordable option.

I’m not sure I see Thornton necessarily being a top six playmaker for the Leafs, but he’ll be a solid 3rd line option, playing center as needed, and likely wing by default. Basically Spezza, but with a bit more defensive zone responsibility and magnificent hobo beard.

On Twitter: @zjlaing