On this week’s Tape To Tape NHL Podcast, Ryan Dixon and Rory Boylen were joined by former NHLer Bret Hedican, who is now an analyst for the San Jose Sharks broadcast. While talk centred on the Sharks’ surge, it naturally also focused on some of the star players, namely Brent Burns…and Joe Thornton.
The 36-year-old Thornton is at the point of his career where players usually decline towards retirement. But on the contrary, Big Joe has continued to be San Jose’s heart and soul leader, on both sides of the puck. As Thornton’s case for the Hart Trophy builds, Hedican also believes he shouldn’t be forgotten for the Selke.
“He’s a three-zone player,” Hedican said. “I think everybody’s just seen the offensive side of what he’s been doing – and by the way the last 44 games, 13 goals 41 assists, that’s 54 points in those 44 games. Offensively he does so many things that are at the highest level: he anticipates the play, he knows where to go with the puck before he has it, when he has the puck on his stick he just seems to slow the game down. Those are the things offensively I have just loved watching him play.
“When I say three-zone player the way he has been backchecking, the things he does defensively that people don’t really get a chance to appreciate, particularly maybe on TV because you don’t see how hard he works on the back side. For a Selke winner, you’ve got guys that you can think about for the Selke, but I think that Joe Thornton defensively is as good as anybody I’ve seen this year. And he should be in consideration for that award, for what he has done not just offensively, but the type of player he is in all three zones.”