It appears the Boston Bruins could've received a lot more for Joe Thornton when they dealt him to the San Jose Sharks in 2005, at least according to Brian Burke.
During a Twitter Q&A session on Thursday Burke, general manager of the Anaheim Ducks at the time Thornton was traded, revealed he was rather frustrated he couldn't pry the future Hall of Famer from Mike O'Connell's clutches.
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I tried desperately to get Joe Thornton to Anaheim. 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 (cont) https://t.co/zkLzbwLll9— Brian Burke (@Burkie2020) April 2, 2020
As for what he would've given up for Thornton -- this one may frustrate B's fans.
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. #askburkie https://t.co/zkLzbwLll9— Brian Burke (@Burkie2020) April 2, 2020
O'Connell ended up dealing Thornton to the Sharks for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. The move cleared cap space for the Bruins to later sign Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard, among others, but could what they have received from Anaheim been better?
If the Bruins ended up receiving Anaheim's 2006 first-round draft pick (19th overall), they could've drafted anyone from Claude Giroux who went 22nd overall to the Philadelphia Flyers to Nick Foligno who was drafted 28th overall by the Ottawa Senators. Now, if the first-round pick Burke was willing to give up was indeed a 2006 pick, then the Bruins who drafted Phil Kessel fifth overall that year could've potentially added two stars for the price of one.
Thinking about that situation alone should make Bruins' fans cringe, but there's more.
Burke noted he would've given up the player who O'Connell ranked as sixth-best on the Ducks roster as well as a prospect. Looking back at that now, the sixth player could've been anyone from Francois Beauchemin to Joffrey Lupul and a prospect could've been the likes of Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry, according to WEEI's Matt Kalman.
The sixth-best player makes you shake your head because Beauchemin and/or Lupul weren't the greatest, but the first-round pick and possibility of adding Getzlaf or Perry would've been huge for the Bruins.
If this deal was done in 2020, you'd have to wonder if Don Sweeney would've accepted Burke's offer.