What Brian Burke says the Ducks would’ve given Bruins for Joe Thornton

Matt Kalman
April 02, 2020 - 8:20 pm

Brian Burke tells a lot of stories whether he’s a guest or a host on the television or radio for Sportsnet.

One thing he’s often hinted at is that he was frustrated in the fall of 2005 when the Bruins traded Joe Thornton to San Jose for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau. Boston general manager Mike O’Connell famously didn’t shop Thornton around the league before completing the deal with the Sharks because he wanted to avoid leaks.

During AMA on Twitter on Thursday evening Burke, who was GM of the Anaheim Ducks at the time, gave some more specifics on what he thinks would’ve been a better package for the Bruins.

“I tried desperately to get Joe Thornton to Anaheim,” Burke tweeted. “I thought we beat the offer that got accepted. Mike O’Connell was the GM and we were babysitting him, checking in once a day, sometimes more.

“I told OC that I would protect 5 players on my roster and he could take whoever he had ranked 6th. No restrictions. Then I’d add another roster player, a prospect, and a first. I’m still bitter we didn’t get him.”

Going by the hockeyreference.com measure of point share, the top five players on the Ducks’ roster were goalie J-S Giguere, forwards Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald, and defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Francois Beauchemin. Forward Joffrey Lupul ranked sixth.

If one of the 25-year-old Beauchemin or the 22-year-old Lupul were available, that would’ve fit the Sturm or Stuart piece of the deal. Stuart was a 26-year-old former No. 3 overall pick with five NHL seasons under his belt, so back then he would’ve probably been a better get than either of the aforementioned two Ducks.

But then things might lean toward Burke being right. If by “prospect” he was willing to include either Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry, who were both rookies in 2005-06, then that would’ve been a Bruins home run. Lupul, who had just one year of NHL experience at the time, might’ve also qualified for the prospect tag. Obviously looking back injuries shortened his career but scored more than 20 goals five times.

Then the first-round pick probably clinches Burke’s argument rather than the throw-in bottom-six forward that was Primeau.

So if Bruins fans didn’t feel enough pain looking back at the Thornton trade and seeing what they actually got in return, they can twist the knife in their own backs by thinking about what the Bruins could’ve got from the Ducks.

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