"I haven't been able to talk to him yet, but I'm really excited to meet him," the young defenseman said of the veteran forward. "It's going to be really cool having him on the bench beside me. (He's) definitely a guy I never thought I'd be playing with, but someone that I definitely grew up watching a lot."
Dermott, who will turn 24 in December, re-signed with the Maple Leafs on a one-year deal worth $874,125 on Friday. Meanwhile, the 41-year-old Thornton inked a one-year, $700,000 pact with Toronto last week.
The Maple Leafs boast several young stars, including 23-year-olds Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and 24-year-old William Nylander. Toronto iced the NHL's sixth-youngest team this past season, but the club now ranks 15th, according to Elite Prospects.
That change is due not only to the addition of Thornton, but also 32-year-old forward Wayne Simmonds and goaltender Aaron Dell, who's 31, as well as 30-year-old blue-liners TJ Brodie and Zach Bogosian.
Those other moves helped convince Thornton to join the Maple Leafs.
"I truly believe with the roster they have, with the guys they picked up this offseason, I think this team is ready to win now," he said after signing with the club.