Thornton made the decision to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending Thornton’s 15-year tenure with the Sharks. For the first time in Couture’s NHL career, he’ll be on a different team than Thornton, who he still thinks very highly of. “There’s no doubt in my mind. No doubt in my mind Joe Thornton can still be an effective NHL player. No doubt,” Couture said. “I’ve watched him every day. It was a privilege to watch him every day in practice, and how hard he trains off the ice. The way he takes care of his body. … He’s going to help that team a lot. All those players are going to be very lucky to have spent at least one year with him as a teammate. They’ll learn a lot about the game, a lot about how to be a better teammate and better person. People in Toronto, those players, are very fortunate.” There’s no question that Thornton isn’t the player he once was, but Toronto isn’t looking for him to play in a leading role. The Maple Leafs are looking at Thornton as a third-line center and in that position, Thornton might still be effective.