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01-30-2012, 10:16 PM
seventieslord's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
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Scott Thornton, C/LW

There is a lot to like about Thornton. First of all, at 6'3", 220 lbs, he was huge. He lasted a really long time in the NHL, playing 12.63 minutes per game. He had 285 career points, so he was nothing special offensively, although he did explode for 26 goals in 2002. Keep in mind that he peaked in the dead puck era and received no PP time, so his offense was decent considering. He was a great role player, working the corners and playing a very tough physical game.

Based on faceoff stats, Thornton approximately split time in his career between C and LW, playing mostly center until 1998 and mostly LW after that. On faceoffs he averaged about 52% so he did well. He was a willing fighter, with 107 career bouts and a recorded record of 33-21-21 (.580)

Thornton spent some time as a role player on some great teams (getting to round 2 five times) but also on some terrible ones (missing the playoffs six times)

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
One player I watched come from junior hockey and into the NHL was Scott Thornton. The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted the Belleville Bulls hulking center 3rd overall in 1989.

The reason? At about that time I had a huge man-crush on Calgary's Joel Otto. A physically dominant, extraordinary defensive center with incredible size and great faceoff ability. Every team wanted Otto. And, I believed, Toronto had drafted the next one when the draft Thornton ahead Stu Barnes and Bill Guerin.

Thornton went on to become a bit of a poor-man's Otto rather than the next dominant defender. He was outstanding on faceoffs. He played with a different variety of toughness - he was never chippy or cheap. He was a real solid player, though prone to both injuries and bad penalties.

Though he had decent skating ability - strong and balanced - he was not fast. He was smart positionally on the defensive side. Offensively he never really was a threat, except for one season in San Jose where he played a lot of left wing alongside his superstar cousin, Joe Thornton. Many people would expect more offensive production from a 3rd overall draft pick - one who was traded as a key part of the trade to Edmonton for Grant Fuhr. But I certainly would not consider him a disappointment.

In fact, even though he was a favorite of mine, even I was actually quite surprised to realize he survived parts of 17 NHL season, totalling nearly 1000 regular season games. He spent a long time in obscurity on 4th lines in Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, Dallas, San Jose and Los Angeles. It all added up to a very decent National Hockey League career.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1999
Thornton's best asset is his faceoff ability. He is outstanding on draws, especially in the defensive zone, and matches up against just about any centre in the league when it comes to winning puck battles. If Thornton doesn't win a draw outright, he uses his musle to tie up the opponent and work the puck to a teammate. he uses his toughness to get rid of a defender, then has good hands when he works in tight to get his scoring chances. Thornton is by no means a sniper, and even though he has concentrated more on the defensive aspects of the game, he is able to convert a scoring chance when the opportunity presents itself... Thornton is a good skater, not overly fast, but no plodder. He is strong and balanced on his feet and hard to knock off the puck. He is alert positionally. If one of his defensemen goes deep in on the attack, Thornton will be the forward back covering for him.

Thornton is a big, solid, defensive centre, a young Joe Otto but with better mobility. Tough without being chippy or taking bad penalrites, he can play against just about any big number one centre in the league. Thornton will never be a major point producer, but he will fill a steady checking role for the team in many seasons to come. Thornton is the kind of reliable, defensive forward any team could use for a serious Stanley Cup run. Because he never delivered on his offensive promise, he may be viewed as a failure, but he delivers in other areas.

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