Brooks gives details on Thornton and hints at Bozak

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When the list of free agents came out at the end of the NHL season, one name that was thought to be a good fit for the Blueshirts was Joe Thornton. Jumbo Joe would have been perfect for what the Rangers needed: a center with plenty of leadership, is good in the faceoff circle, plays a 200-foot game and will put up points.

Now that Thornton has re-signed with the Sharks, details are starting to come out about what happened when the Rangers talked to the grizzled veteran. Larry Brooks reports that Jeff Gorton had “extended, productive talks with Joe Thornton” before he ultimately chose to head back to the Bay Area. 

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There have been some rumblings about the availability of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak. The 31-year-old center is in the final year of his contract, making $4.2 million and has a modified no-trade-clause attached to it. Bozak could be a valuable “rental” player should he be moved. As Brooks noted, his ice time in Toronto has gone down from 21 minutes per game to roughly 16.5 minutes over the last four years. Bozak has similar production to the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad and is just as good, if not better, at the faceoff dot.

One name from the Rangers that could be involved in a potential deal is defenseman Nick Holden. Holden is also in the final year of his contract, and with Jeff Gorton stockpiling blue line prospects during the spring, he was unlikely to have his contract renewed at the end of next season. The Leafs have a very young defensive core, with six of their seven defensemen being 27 years old and younger. Holden could slide in and be a veteran presence for Mike Babcock’s squad and at $1.65 million, Toronto would get some additional cap room as well.

Again, this is just a rumor, but it is one that if the trade was made, it would benefit both sides.


  • If I’m Toronto, I feel like I could get more for Bozak than just Nick Holden, I think it’s going to take Holden plus prospects and/or picks. That and I don’t think Lou wants to help the Rangers.

  • The Rangers got a 7th overall 1st rd pick and a top prospect for a center who scored 55 points but the Leafs will trade Bozak and his 55 points for Nick Holden? Can’t see that happening.

    • The Leafs need cap space. I think i read somewhere that they are over so this would help them and the Rangers.

    • Not the same as Stepan. First Step was signed for 4-years, Bozak is a UFA next summer. Second Step just turned 27, Bozak turned 31 in March. And the Leafs can really use the cap relief going from Bozak to Holden gives them, not to mention they can use a 4/5 dman like Holden. With that said we’d need to include a mid-pick/prospect with Holden to get it done I’m sure. It does make sense for both teams though.

  • its not about value or thethe rangers wouldnt of made the trade with Arizona. Its all about cap space and that trade works for both teams. maybe a prospect thrown in or 4th rounder

  • It will take more than just Holden for Bozak maybe a second rnd pick will get it done. Bozie is a real good player on face offs, good play maker, really stepped up his game in the playoffs.

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