Silly season is about to begin for the National Hockey League (NHL) and it looks like the Columbus Blue Jackets may be at the center of it all.
According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman in his most recent "30 Thoughts" column, the Blue Jackets are one of a few suitors for center Joe Thornton's services.
5. He’s staying low profile — and there is serious doubt he actually wants to leave San Jose — but there is a list of teams who want to peer inside Joe Thornton’s head. At the draft, there was a lot of talk it would take a three-year deal to lure him. Potential suitors include Columbus, Los Angeles, Montreal and the Rangers. I could see Toronto having interest, but I’m not certain. There was a time Detroit appealed to him, but it doesn’t seem right now for either side. It looks like San Jose is closing in on extensions for Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (both can be announced on Saturday), so we’re all waiting to see what is left for Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau. I’m really fascinated by the Blue Jackets, who are going all-in over the next two years and will try something big. Toronto is quieter about its intentions, but don’t forget that Mike Babcock has plenty of Team Canada history with both Marleau and Thornton.
In 79 games this past season, Thornton put up seven goals and helped with 43 assists for a total of 50 points. Those were his worst numbers in a non-lockout, non-injury filled season since he played for the Boston Bruins.
The Blue Jackets have been linked to big-time move after big-time move this offseason and this only adds fuel to the fire.
Saturday, July 1 marks the beginning of free agency in the NHL. The Blue Jackets are surely going to be a busy team.