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Bye bye Scott Thornton

I guess the story about Joe and Scott Thornton not being really close as cousins was true. Otherwise, you'd think Joe would have lobbied for Scott's option to be picked up. Instead, the Sharks move forward without Scott Thornton -- a good foot soldier during his time here, but never a vital component once the Ricci/Thornton/Sundstrom line disintegrated during The Year From Hell (2002-2003).

Thornton was counted on to be a power forward that would battle in front of the net while the rest of the Sharks used their speed. Unfortunately, Scott never consistently played with that grit this season. There were flashes here and there, especially right after cousin Joe was acquired, but Scott was rendered a non-entity for the majority of the season and his option at $1.5 million was nowhere near justifiable for pickup.

However, the Sharks still have grit to fill with Thornton's role now absent. There are plenty of free agent options out there, and they're not always going to be terribly expensive (I've always thought luring away someone like Mike Grier would be a good idea). Bottom line, whoever steps in on Thornton's spot on the third line needs to be faster than Scott and be more willing to plant himself in front of the net. Scott was effective when he did so, but he didn't always get there on a regular basis.