Mar 6, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Shawn Thornton (22) skates during the first period against the Washington Capitals at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins Trade Targets: Shawn Thornton

Every team in the National Hockey League has some sort of enforcer working on their squad. Some of those hockey players are pure grinders whose only job was to give their teams’ top lines a breather during games. Other enforcers reveled in pure physicality, generating very few points but racking up an obscene amount of penalty minutes. The Boston Bruins have their own enforcer, and thankfully he’s neither of these things.

Shawn Thornton currently fills that role for Boston. He’s been a member of the team since the 2007-08 season. In his career in Boston, he’s earned a Stanley Cup and a solid following among the fan base.  While he has had good years and better years, this year wasn’t the best one for Thornton. In his sixty-four games with the Black and Gold, he put in eight points(five goals),  A plus/minus of +3, and seventy four penalty minutes. Sadly, Thornton’s most memorable moment this year was leaping on and knocking out Pittsburgh Penguins’ Brooks Orpik.

Squirting P.K. Subban (while humorous) didn’t do his reputation any favors either.

There are a lot of young and up-and-comers heading into Boston at the beginning of next season. There will be some rather intense competition for those thirteen available positions at forward. While I am an unabashedly biased fan of Shawn Thornton, I have serious doubts that he’ll still be in the uniform next season with the Bruins. Let’s look at the numbers. Shawn Thornton will be thirty-seven in July. Sure, he’s still in excellent shape, but he’ll be going up against people half his age. Thornton will likely get a shot to compete in next season’s training camp. Thornton may impress enough to keep his job.

If we lose Thornton, it will be a regrettable end of an era. For the last few seasons, the Merlot Line has brought energy, skill, and an entertaining level of aggression. Daniel Paille brought speed, Gregory Campbell brought grit and determination, and Thornton brought his humor, tenacity, and the occasional use of his mitts. This year the Merlot Line was plagued with injuries and suspensions and they just didn’t have the fire they usually had.

I’m not completely giving out hope though. There is a chance he could stay in Boston. The Bruins front office might not think players like Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, and Justin Florek will be ready to wear the spoked ‘B’. Also, Shawn Thornton is the kind of man who would take a ‘hometown discount’ to remain in a Bruins jersey. With the Bruins being a cap-conscious team, they might appreciate that kind of gesture from him.

Thornton’s one of those players that is a monster on the ice, a friend to his community, and a fantastic person among the fan base. We’ll see how it plays out in the next few months.

Tags: Boston Bruins Shawn Thornton

  • Willy

    Thorty is a great guy but I dont see the B’s offering him a contract, which is what it would take for him to be in training camp. Sadly Thorty made extremely poor decisions this season that cant be ignored, he is also one of the slowest players on the team and since they need to get faster…… Thanks for the memories Thorty.

    • Bratista

      Haters gonna hate!

      • Willy

        That drives me crazy…. I am NOT a hater and never have been but I am a REALIST that doesnt see him coming back, sorry if you disagree with my OPINION. Grow up.

        • bruinfan

          Yes you are a hater not a realist. You are also a flip flopper when it suits your purpose for that second.

      • bruinfan

        Could not have said it better

        • Bratista

          Thornton is a scorer though. And he is definitely the muscle, no matter how many “Lucic Fight Club” bumper stickers are out there. Plus he has a personality that is well-suited to Boston – tough on the ice, but a big smile off!

          • bruinfan

            38 goals in an 11 year career does not make one a goal scorer. He does have a great personality and is great for Boston but I still don’t see him coming back.

  • sabrina murphy b.

    Why does the Title read “Trade target”?
    They can’t “Trade” him he is a free agent this summer. It’s either they resign him or he retires. He stated he refuses to leave Boston.

    Work on those article titles lol

  • Bratista

    Thornton is an amazing player! Not only an enforcer, but a goal-scorer too, and I love his attitude! I know I’m not alone in thinking that him squirting Subban was hilarious and good, light-hearted fun. Haters need to lay off.