Sharks centre Joe Thornton will return to San Jose for his 20th NHL season after signing a new contract.
Thornton – the second leading scorer in Sharks history – re-signed on Sunday in a one-year deal reportedly worth $6.5million.
The 38-year-old has tallied 937 points in a Sharks uniform, behind only Patrick Marleau (1,082 points), who left for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.
"Joe has become one of the faces of this franchise since his arrival in 2005 and we feel it's only fitting that he will be wearing teal going forward," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said.
"He is a generational playmaker and his accomplishments place him amongst the elite players to ever play the game. He has helped lead this team to new levels and continues to be one of the top two-way centres in the League. His leadership on and off the ice have been instrumental in this franchise's success, and we're excited that he has continued his commitment to this organization and the fans in San Jose."
We’re ready for a Jumbo year. pic.twitter.com/at8vXatIRa— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) July 3, 2017
Thornton, the number one overall pick by the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL Draft, has spent the past 12 seasons in San Jose, where he has become a beloved figure.
His legend grew in April, when he suffered a torn ACL and MCL near the end of the regular season, yet returned for the Sharks' first-round playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers.
Thornton had surgery to repair his knee in late April, and his expected recovery time means he is unlikely to return to the ice until around the start of next season.
That injury situation, along with Thornton's age and salary, led the Sharks to leave their long-time star unprotected in the recent NHL Expansion Draft.
He scored 50 points last season, a far cry from his career-high of 114 points 10 years ago, but his experience — not to mention his popularity with fans — will continue to be an asset for the Sharks.
Thornton has 1,391 career points, which ranks 23rd in NHL history. His 1,007 career assists rank 13th on the career list.
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