Veteran forward Joe Thornton said he has yet to make a decision on his future with the Florida Panthers and in the NHL. The 42-year-old is coming to the end of his NHL career but is looking to win the one thing that has eluded him, a Stanley Cup. Whether he thinks he can still do so and if the Florida Panthers are the team that gives him the best shot to do so isn’t clear.
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After the Panthers were surprisingly swept from the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, it wouldn’t come as a shock if Thornton decided to hang up his skates. After all, he’s tried for three seasons now to sign on with an NHL team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup and all three attempts have not gone his way.
Joe Thornton Florida Panthers 1
When asked what might come next for the veteran, he responded, “I have no idea, I haven’t put any thought into it all.” He added, “It happened so quick, it took me by surprise, so I’m sure I’m going to talk with the family and see what the plan is next.” To be fair, Thornton is probably still in shock. No one expected the Panthers to be ousted so quickly. He noted, “We had such a great regular season and we continued on to Washington, but to get swept against Tampa, it’s something I didn’t see coming.” It will take a while to process that this could be the way his career ends. And, should he want to give it another run, if Florida gives him the best odds.
That decision likely won’t be up to just Thornton. He’s at a point in his career where he’s not a regular in the NHL. Not every contender is going to give him the opportunity he might be seeking and that too has to be taken into account. Maybe he’ll wait to see who wins the Cup this year and make a decision after that.
“I have no plans and it’s kind of exciting that way,” Thornton said. “I’ve been privileged to play this game for a long time, so I don’t take anything for granted, but I never think ‘what ifs’ to be honest, I just try to live in the moment and go from there.”
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