Next up, left wing enforcer, fan favorite, and triple crown winner, Shawn Thornton.
Name: Shawn Thornton
Position: Left wing
Weight: 217 lbs.
Contract: $812,500 through 2011-12 NHL season
2010-11 NHL season stats
Regular season: 79 GP, 10-10–20, plus-8, 122 PIM, 151 SOG
Playoffs: 18 GP, 0-1–1, minus-1, 24 PIM, 20 SOG
Anthony’s take: Despite a career high in goals (10) assists (10) and points (20) it’s not often that you will see Shawn Thornton’s name on the score sheet. Thornton is never sent out to kill off a penalty, or sent out to shut down the other team’s top line, but No. 22 still plays a huge roll for the Boston Bruins.
A fourth line grinder, Thornton is the Bruins tough guy, a guy that you really don’t want to mess with. Thornton led the Bruins in penalty minutes (122) and fighting majors (14); his physical play is crucial to the Bruins success, and that was very apparent in the Stanley Cup Finals.
With the Bruins down two-games-to-none, and Thornton a healthy scratch in the two losses, the left-winger was reinserted into the lineup and gave the Bruins the spark they needed. With Thornton keeping the Canucks in check, he helped lead the Bruins to their Stanley Cup victory, something that I truly believe would not have happened without Thornton.
Final grade: B+
Marino’s grade: If you can find me a more than adequate fourth-line winger, as one of the top enforcers in the NHL, who pitches-in with 10 goals, is a leader both on and off the ice (particularly in the locker room), with a couple of Stanley Cups under his belt that makes under $1 million per season, and his name isn’t Shawn Thornton — then I must be living under a rock.
From what is asked from Thornton, his role, and what he gives to the Bruins on a nightly basis goes well beyond his sub-$1M salary. Always there to amp up the bench and pump up the crowd, Thornton not only had an offensive career-high, but he rifled over 150 shots on net, engaged in 14 fighting majors, and was a plus player throughout the season.
Only a gnarly 40-stitch-gash on his forehead kept him from playing all 82 games this season. With Thornton’s aggressive style of play, it’s indicative of his toughness that he’s missed just a total of 14 games in the last three NHL season.
When push comes to shove, and you want a banger on your team that basically does it all and isn’t a defensive liability, then it doesn’t get any better than No. 22.
Final grade: A
View all of the Boston Bruins 2010-11 Report Cards