Joe Thornton signs with the Florida Panthers

veteran forward Joe Thornton

Veteran forward Joe Thornton has signed a one year contract with the surging Florida Panthers.

With more than 1,600 games played in the NHL, Joe will bring a wealth of experience to our locker room and lineup,” said Panthers GM Bill Zito in a prepared statement. “His drive to succeed is unmistakable and we are thrilled that he chose to sign with our club and that he believes in what we are building here in South Florida.

Thornton, 42, has appeared in 1,680 games with the Boston Bruins (1997-98 to 2005-06), San Jose Sharks (2005-06 to 2019-20) and Toronto Maple Leafs (2020-21), which stands as the second-most games played of any active NHL player and is the sixth-most games played all time. He has amassed 1,529 points (425-1,104-1,529) over his career, which leads all active NHL skaters. His 1,104 career assists lead all active players and ranks as the seventh-most assists all time. Over 186 career NHL postseason games, Thornton has produced 134 points (32-102-134).

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of London, Ontario has been named an NHL All-Star six times (2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09) and was the recipient of both the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy in 2005-06 after leading the league with 96 assists and 125 points. He paced the NHL in assists for three consecutive seasons, in 2005-06 (96), 2006-07 (92), and 2007-08 (67).

Thornton is San Jose’s all-time franchise leader in assists (804), power-play points (402), and plus-minus rating (+161), ranking second in total points (1,055). He served as captain for both the Sharks and Bruins, eclipsing the 100-point mark three times (2002-03, 2005-06, and 2006-07) and the 80-point mark seven times.

Jumbo Joe is another smart signing for a Florida Panthers team trying to change the culture, and consistently stick with the top pack of teams in the NHL.