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Poll: Is Joe Thornton Hall of Fame-worthy?

Jul 28, 2012, 8:20 PM EDT

Joe Thornton AP

Joe Thornton isn’t all that old – he’s just 33 – but it feels like people have been discussing his legacy for years now.

Perhaps it comes with the territory of being a high-scoring, huge Canadian forward who was drafted first overall. (Especially when that guy hasn’t satisfied many with his postseason play.)

While he’s still one of the San Jose Sharks’ best players, there’s a feeling that Jumbo Joe’s best days are behind him. With that in mind, a fun question emerges: is he headed toward the Hall of Fame?

Let’s take a Cliffs Notes look at the arguments for and against.


  • Just 87 points in 114 career playoff games, far behind his near-point-per-game regular season average.
  • Not a great goal-scorer.
  • Some expect a more physical style considering his towering size.
  • Insert more abstract criticisms about “heart” here.


  • Just over a point-per-game in his regular season career (1,078 points in 1,077 games).
  • Much better in the postseason with San Jose (69 points in 79 games).
  • One Hart Trophy, one Art Ross and six All-Star selections.
  • Nine seasons in the top-10 in assists, including three at No.1 overall.
  • Five seasons in the top-10 in points, fourth among active players for career points.

Naturally, he still has more hockey ahead of him, but where does Thornton weigh in now?

  1. anthonycarch22 - Jul 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Not in my opinion. He’s an above average player. A good leader, but not HOF material.

  2. braddavery - Jul 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    There aren’t many players who have averaged a point or more per-game for an extended career who aren’t or who won’t be Hall of Famers.

    • stakex - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      Hes only 33 and in the middle of his career. Its quite likely he won’t be anywhere near a point a game by the end.

      • handsofsweed - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        Speaking of being in the middle, we all should probably wait another 5 yrs to ask/answer this question. It’s too early to get a really good/accurate answer.

  3. bcjim - Jul 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    You might have an argument against until you look at some of the other tripe already in. the hof.

    If he its that high on the points list…he is likely in.

    And while I am not a particular fan, 87 in 114 is not that far off his normal pace, esp when one considers playoff games tend to be much tighter affairs.

  4. jacketsfan7 - Jul 28, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    He’s been the face of the sharks for the past 7 years now , while right now I don’t think he’s HOF worthy he’s got a few more years to change my mind

  5. williplett - Jul 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    I was selfishly cheering for him to get in, because I was a North Stars fan as a kid, but when they let Dino Ciccarelli in the HOF in 2010 the bar was lowered. Dino simply stuck around and got numbers; he never won a Cup or a major individual award.

    I think Thornton would eventually get in-after a bit of a wait-even without a Cup. He’s got a Hart and an Art Ross, he seems like a lock to finish his career with 1,200+ points and he has an Olympic gold, a World Cup championship and a World Jr. gold to his name.

    He also has about five years left to try for the Cup win that would make his election a no-brainer.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 28, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      Dino 1232 games 1200 points
      You must be thinking of Rod Brind’amour who played in 1484 to get 1184

      Dino also chipped in with 73 goals in 141 playoff games
      I don’t mind the bar being at Dino

      • williplett - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM

        I’m probably being a bit too harsh on Dino. I just feel that his election lowered the bar a bit.

  6. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 28, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    If they can keep out Bernie Nicholls, why not Joe? Usually anyone who gets 1100+ points is a lock to get in at some point. But there are a few who haven’t. I figure Joe will wait and get in eventually.

  7. sjsharksfan11 - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    How could one get in without ever getting over the hump. As of now he’s remembered and recognized for playoff failure. To me that’s not worthy. Win a cup to erase that pain an maybe.

  8. muir6 - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:49 PM


  9. thedavesiknowiknow - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Meh: Everyone else gets in. Sure.

  10. qauzaq - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Not worthy imo

  11. stakex - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Perhaps there should be a larger debate about what actually gets a player into the Hall of Fame.

    Do I think Joe Thornton has done enough to get into the HOF? Not really, at least so far. The guy has had a couple really good years, but other then that he hasn’t really done anything note worthy. He hasn’t been able to lead his team to the Cup, hes played so-so in the playoffs including scoring just 19 goals in 113 playoff games, and isn’t really what you think of when you think Hall of Fame.

    With that said, there are a lot of players in the HoF with similar careers to Thornton. If they got in, I guess it can be argued so should he? Which goes back to my first sentence… perhaps there needs to be a strong debate about what actually makes someone a Hall of Fame player. Does Joe Thornton really belong in the same “exclusive” club as Gretzky or Howe? I just don’t see it.

  12. sjsharks66 - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Uhh….yeah! Of course he should be. He’s an amazing player and a great leader!

  13. ironmike778 - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    LOL!! What?? Hall Of Fame?? Ha…. That’s ridiculous. No he’s not a HOF’er!

  14. themajorleagueblog - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    I say yes, because his career mirrors Adam Oates to a point. I think the commenters are thinking of whether or not he’ll be a “first ballot” hall of famer. I say he’ll get in if he stopped today, but it would take a while.

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  15. finfan88shark - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    A great leader? No. A great playmaker who could be a lot better with more effort yes. HOF worthy? Not yet.

  16. scottybcboy - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    Based on the criteria established, which includes international play, absolutely he is a HOF’er.
    Coming from a B’s fan……best trade they ever made, cap space is invaluable, and management took full advantage.

  17. sjsharks66 - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    As a sharks fan I expect you to acknowledge how much effort and heart joe plays with. A point per game in his career, amazing play maker and yes a great leader who has worn the C well. So yes, HOF material.

  18. blomfeld - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:48 AM


    The bottom line is that Thornton needs to win the Stanley Cup before any Hall of Fame conversation can be started. He is very good no doubt, yet a birdie putt left “close” is still just a par in the end. I say “liquidate” Wilson and McLellan now, give Robinson the keys to the car and I can guarantee you Sharkies, that it’ll be “you and us” dancing at next year’s WCF !

  19. johnwwt1976 - Jul 29, 2012 at 5:03 AM

    Well Jerome Iginla has no chance than, he’s only been out of the first round once in his career and is well under a point per game player

  20. johnwwt1976 - Jul 29, 2012 at 5:17 AM

    Why is Mats Sundin going in the HOF?? He has less points than Thornton in the postseason, and he has only gone to 1 conference final when Thornton has already gone to 2!!

  21. rebel21das - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    I say he will definitely have the numbers and hopefully a Cup to his name by the time he hangs up the skates. As of right now though, I think Thornton just squeaks in the HOF with what he has done up till this point in his career.

  22. braddavery - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Due to the insane amount of assists Thornton gets, it’s very possible that he ends up with 1,500+ career points. Only 13 players have ever had 1,500+ points and ALL of them are and will be in the Hall of Fame.

  23. budvw14 - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Perreault, Stastny, Gartner, Sundin, Hawerchuk, Dionne, LaFontaine all in…. No cups! Thornton will go eventually.

  24. bcjim - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    He should get in for his diving alone..

    Seriously, if he does not get in then Sundin…get out. Iginla, give it up.

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