Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/03/17 at 07:38 AM ET
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
Joe Thornton spent days trading text messages and phone calls with Patrick Marleau. The two veteran forwards were unrestricted free agents for the first time in their NHL careers, wooed by teams around the League.
Thornton decided to return to the San Jose Sharks. He wanted Marleau to return too, so badly apparently he was willing to take less money to make it happen. General manager Doug Wilson said Thornton agreed to a one-year contract on Friday with different versions of compensation depending on the circumstances.
But Marleau signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. Then the Sharks announced Thornton was coming back on a one-year contract. Thornton's agency, Top Shelf Sports Management, tweeted the total value was $8 million. TSN reported a signing bonus of $1.25 million and salary of $6.75 million....
Thornton has spent the past 11-plus seasons with the Sharks, since they acquired him from the Boston Bruins on Nov. 30, 2005, on his way to the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. He ranks second to Marleau in games played (914) and points (937) in San Jose history, and he's first in assists (722). He still drives play and passes the puck like a wizard even though he turned 38 on Sunday. He's a center, Marleau a wing.
Yes, Thornton dropped from 82 points (19 goals, 63 assists) in 2015-16 to 50 points (seven goals, 43 assists) last season. Yes, he sustained a bad knee injury late in the season. But he came off a short summer after the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, played for Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and ground through a condensed schedule, and the knee is fine. Thornton said he expects to start skating in a couple of weeks and will be 100 percent.
"I haven't trained my legs like this ever in my career, so my legs are going to be stronger than ever, to be honest with you," Thornton said.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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