July 2: The Sharks have officially announced the signing. His agency, Top Shelf Hockey, reports via Twitter that Thornton will earn $8MM in 2017-18. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun adds (Twitter link) that the base salary is $6.75MM while he gets a $1.25MM signing bonus as well.
July 1: After all of the rumor and intrigue surrounding “Jumbo” Joe Thornton seeking a three-year deal and speaking with many teams other than the San Jose Sharks, NBC Sports’ California correspondent Kevin Kurz is reporting that Thornton has actually re-signed in San Jose for just one year. According to Bob McKenzie, the deal is worth more than $6 MM, and Fox Sports Northwest’s Andy Strickland has the exact total at $6.5 MM. This is nowhere near the paycut many experts expected from his previous $6.75 MM. In a weak UFA class, however, he ended up getting more AAV than many of the larger names out there.
The probable future Hall-of-Fame center has 1007 career assists, good for 13th all time. He only had 7 goals last season make up his 50 points in 2016-17, however, his lowest total in a full season. It was anticipated by many that perhaps fellow long-time shark Patrick Marleau would sign first, but the offer from San Jose and the allure of home was too much to keep Thornton from signing on the dotted line.
Thornton is obviously slowing down a step, but he is still one of the best playmakers in the game. His work on the powerplay is masterful and he has jump-started many younger players’ careers. On a one-year deal, there seems to be little downside to the Sharks, as he can still be a productive member of a top-9 offensive unit while providing solid defensive play. The price is a bit high, and it remains to be seen whether that will affect any potential negotiations with Marleau.