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FHN+ | Zito credits Panthers players for luring Joe Thornton to Sunrise

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Panthers joe thornton
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton in action against the visiting Florida Panthers at HP Pavilion on February 17, 2020. // Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire

When Joe Thornton finally signed his one-year contract with the Panthers on Friday, he said one reason he was joining the Panthers was because he thought he would “be a great fit with this group.”

The future Hall of Famer said that the conversations he had with general manager Bill Zito as well as Joel Quenneville and Roberto Luongo led him to believe the Panthers are ready to make the next step.

Watching the Panthers in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning also got him thinking.

“I see the team on paper, I watched the team last year,’’ Thornton said. “I love the team and that’s it. I love what they’re building and I’m excited to be part of it. Everything is ultimately about winning the Stanley Cup and the Panthers are right there. … It was a great series, and I love their team. It left a big impression me.’’

Thornton, 42, knows he has a really small window remaining in trying to win the Stanley Cup.

Zito said on Monday that Thornton deciding to come and continue his quest for the Stanley Cup with the Panthers is a testament to the players Florida already has.

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