After so much speculation and tons of rumoured destinations, it seems as though big Joe Thornton will be returning to the San Jose Sharks on a one-year deal, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
If Jumbo Joe re-ups in SJ, his one-year deal there could be in excess of $6M. Certainly, at least $6M.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2017
While terms of the deal haven’t been set in stone, reports are that it will be north of $6 million and closer to the $6.5-million mark.
Jumbo Joe Returns
Thornton has spent parts of the last 12 seasons with the Sharks after eight seasons in Boston. He’s rarely missed any time with San Jose playing 914 regular season games for the team and racking up 215 goals and 937 points over that span.
His name has continuously been brought up in Selke voting, as well as being mentioned among Lady Byng candidates and Hart candidates early in his time with the Sharks.
He’s helped the Sharks get to the playoffs 11 times in his 12 seasons with the club, scoring 21 goals and 84 assists for 105 points in 125 games.
He was originally drafted by the Bruins first overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, before joining the Sharks midway through the 2005-06 season.
He ranks 26th on the NHL’s all-time games played list, 13th all-time in assists and 23rd all-time in points. That’s not bad for a guy who still has some playing days ahead of him.
What He Brings to the Sharks
Above all else, his leadership is likely a major piece in what the Sharks wanted back with the 38-year-old center. He’s played a major role in helping that young club develop including being a mentor to some of their top players now in Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture.
Add to that his career 54.7 percent face-off success rate and he’s still a valuable player down the middle of the ice.
While he’s certainly aging, Thornton still averaged over 18 minutes per game last season and will likely be looked upon again this season to carry some of the load. He’s a power play specialist who can carry possession within the offensive zone allowing his teammates to set up around the perimeter.
Being that he’s 38, the assumption would be that Thornton will at some point be looking to add a Stanley Cup to his resume – especially after narrowly missing out on it in 2015-16. While some would argue that San Jose might not be the place to do it with the expectation being that they will be looking to some of their younger pieces to get involved this season, Thornton obviously has different ideas as to what his future holds with him re-signing with the Sharks.
Either way, the Sharks will have one of their fan favourites and veteran forward back in teal and silver to start the 2017-18 season this October.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.