In his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Joe Thornton found a way to etch himself into the team's record books.
Thornton put the Maple Leafs on the board against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday with a sleek wraparound and passed Allan Stanley to become the franchise's oldest goal scorer in the process. At 41 years and 296 days old, Thornton passed Stanley, who last scored when he was 41 years and 252 years old. during the 1967-68 season.
Joe Thornton (41, 296 days) is now the oldest @MapleLeafs player to score a goal, surpassing Allan Stanley (41 years, 252 days), who previously held the mark since Nov. 8, 1967 (at OAK). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/e7eXULaD3B
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 24, 2021
The veteran forward is the NHL's active career points leader, sitting in 14th place all-time prior to Saturday's action. It's improbable that he'll catch Paul Coffey (1,531 career points) for 13th all-time this season, but with eight games remaining after Saturday's contest, we won't rule it out altogether. Thornton was acquired for his veteran leadership and for his ability to contribute on either a scoring line or checking line on a a cost-effective, one-year deal worth $700,000. Although he's well past his peak, he's produced strong underlying numbers and has been a near-perfect fit for the Maple Leafs, relative to expectations coming into the year.
The tally against the Jets snapped a 27-game goal drought for Thornton, and it couldn't have come a better time in a key matchup pitting the North Division's top two teams against each other. Records are made to be broken, and few know this better than Thornton.
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