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Blockbuster NHL trade - Joe Thornton now a San Jose Shark
In what is surely the biggest trade of the 2005-06 NHL season, the Boston Bruins have traded franchise centre Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks for forwards Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and defenseman Brad Stuart. The Bruins have been in a tailspin this season, playing like an uninspired team with plenty of underachievers. Joe Thornton who was their first overall draft pick in 1997 and is their captain was having a banner season with 33 points in 26 games. The San Jose Sharks have also been struggling and hope to turn their fortunes around by adding this superstar.
Like most fans and hockey watchers, Thorton was quite surprised to hear of this trade. "I was blindsided," Thornton said in a conference call. "On the one hand it's disappointing, and on the other it's good to start over again". In analyzing the trade, it is somewhat surprising that the Boston Bruins did not get a first line centre back in return. Marco Sturm is a very good winger and Primeau is a utility centre, but they will leave the Bruins with a big hole down the middle. This may mean that Alexi Zhamnov is their top centre - with no goals in nine games this year. The Bruins though did get a very good young defenseman in Brad Stuart who up until last season formed the core of San Jose's blueline along with the now Flyer Mike Rathje.
The buzz around the hockey world has been about the secrecy surrounding this deal. It was clear in an interview with Leafs coach (and former GM) Pat Quinn who was quite surprised to hear of this trade. One would think that when shopping a prime asset like Thornton, the Bruins would have created more of a buzz around the league to get the best possible deal.