Joe Thornton’s offensive production took a bit of a hit last season, dropping from an average of 74 points per season the prior three years to just 50 total in 2016-17. His biggest drop was his goal scoring, which was never his strength, but was always decent. Thornton scored 19 goals the year before, but only seven this past season, and three of those goals were on empty nets.

The resulting feeling surrounding Thornton — who is turning 38 a day after free agency opens on July 1 — is that his best hockey is behind him, though he’s still a very good player.

The tricky thing about comparing Thornton to last season is that the percentages swung wildly for him year to year. In 2015-16 his teammates scored on 10.69 per cent of their shots on goal compared to 8.09 per cent in 2016-17. In 2015-16 Thornton accumulated points on 69.2 per cent of his team’s goals while he was on the ice, compared to just 53.3 per cent this past season. Those are statistics that tend to vary wildly, meaning Thornton could easily see a reversal next year and get an increase in his point production.

Looking at those surface statistics it’s tough to know how different Thornton played from one year to the next, but we can dig in and see how much, if any, decline there was in his game.