Joe Thornton to return for 22nd NHL season, signs one-year deal with Sharks

On Friday, the San Jose Sharks announced that the team has agreed to a one-year deal with veteran center Joe Thornton.

According to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News, Thornton’s deal will be for $2 million.

“Words cannot equate the impact that Joe has had on this franchise since his arrival in San Jose in 2005,” said general manger Doug Wilson. “Joe is a generational player who seemingly blazes past an existing Hall-of-Famer with each game he plays. His leadership and dedication to the organization and his teammates is inspiring. He has the rare ability to make the players around him better and we’re excited to see him healthy and back wearing the Sharks crest.”

Thornton had contemplated retirement earlier in the offseason after signing one-year deals prior to each of the last two seasons. The 40-year old center signed an $8 million contract for the 2017-18 season and a $5 million deal for the 2018-19 season.

The Sharks center is coming off a year in which he registered 51 points (16 goals and 35 assists). Despite missing nine of the team’s first 11 games this past season, Thornton suited up for the next 71 contests and finished eighth on the team in points.

Thornton has recorded 1,478 points (413 goals and 1,065 assists) throughout his 21-year NHL career. The No. 1 pock in the 1997 NHL entry draft, Thornton spent his first seven and a half seasons with the Boston Bruins and the last 13 and a half with the Sharks, winning the Hart Trophy in 2005-06 — the season he was traded from Boston to San Jose. 

Thornton has been one of the top players to ever suit up for the Sharks franchise. The 6’4 center has recorded the most assists in franchise history with 780. In addition, Thornton currently has the second-most points (1,024) in San Jose history in addition to being third in goals (244).

During the 2018-19 season, Thornton served as San Jose’s third line center behind Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture.

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