Albeit Joe in his prime would have been nice to see in the DPE. Big, gritty and great playmaking.
I think Forsberg has small but clear edge in basically every category except goal scoring.
Physical, playmaking, defensive and "clutch".
Forsberg was remarkable consistent throughout his career in scoring assists but at their best, Thornton was the better playmaker.
This is a tough poll for comparing primes, skill wise they're probably similar offensively and Forsberg is obviously better defensively, but it's hard to ignore the fact that Forsberg never really had a stretch of seasons where he was consistently one of the league's top scorers because he was so plagued by injury. From 1995-1996 to 1998-1999 he was 3rd overall in scoring, but well behind Selanne and Jagr, I'd say his prime was actually in the early 2000s but unfortunately he was never healthy for a consistent stretch. Whereas from 2005-2006 to 2008-2009 Thornton scored more points than anyone else, more than Ovechkin or Crosby.
I think I'll go Thornton, however it definitely could've been different if Forsberg was healthy for a few years during his true prime. Good poll though, definitely made me scratch my head for a while.
This is one of those cases where I wouldn't even bother attempting to compare stats. I've watched these two play a lot throughout their careers and being a huge fan of playmakers, it comes as no surprise that I'm a fan of both of them.
With all of that being said, this should be a no brainer. I truly wouldn't understand how anyone who thoroughly watched these two throughout their primes could pick Thornton. Forsberg had the "it"/battle factor. The bigger the stage, the better he played. Thornton is a better playoff player than his reputation would perceive IMO, but this is simply a terrible comparison for him.