Six-Time NHL All-Star Becomes Only the 13th Player in NHL History to Reach the Milestone
SAN JOSE – San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton collected his 1000th career NHL assist on March 6th, becoming only the 13th player in NHL history to reach the milestone. The historic helper was recorded on a goal by Joe Pavelski against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. The goal was also assisted by Marc-Edouard Vlasic. This milestone came in Thornton’s 900th game as a member of the San Jose Sharks.
With this achievement, he joins NHL legends Wayne Gretzky (1963), Ron Francis (1249), Mark Messier (1193), Jaromir Jagr (1142), Paul Coffey (1135), Adam Oates (1079), Steve Yzerman (1063), Gordie Howe (1049), Marcel Dionne (1040), Mario Lemieux (1033), and Joe Sakic (1016) in the 1000-assist club – all of whom (with the exception of the active Jagr) are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Of these 13 players, Thornton reached this milestone in the sixth fewest games (1432).
Amongst all NHL players since Thornton entered the NHL for the 1997-98 season, he ranks first in both assists (1000) and points (1382). He holds the assists and points leads by 225 and 112 respectively (Jagr is second in both categories). Amongst active NHL players, Thornton ranks second only to Jagr in career NHL points (1382) and assists (1000).
Acquired by San Jose from Boston on Nov. 30, 2005, Thornton has 715 assists and 928 points in 900 games with the Sharks. During that span, no NHL player has more assists than Thornton (715) and his 928 points with San Jose ranks third amongst all NHL players since the trade.
On the Sharks franchise list, Thornton ranks near the top in most statistical categories. He is first in assists (715), points per game (1.03) and plus-minus (plus-181). He ranks second in points (928) and games played (900), and third in goals (213).
In 2006-2007, Thornton became only the third player in NHL history to have back-to-back 90-plus assist seasons (96 in 2005-06, 92 in 2006-07), joining only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
Thornton led the NHL in assists in 2005-06 (96), 2006-07 (92), and 2007-08 (67). He became just the fourth player in NHL history to lead the League in assists for three consecutive seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Stan Makita (Henrik Sedin has since joined this list in 2011-12).
Thornton was named the winner of both the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2006, the season he was acquired by San Jose. He been selected to six NHL All-Star Games (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009), and was named an NHL First All-Star Team in 2006, and an NHL Second All-Star Team in 2003, 2008 and 2016.
Internationally, Thornton has represented his native Canada on numerous occasions, including winning gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics (also selected in 2006), the 2004 and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and the 1997 World Junior Championships.
This season, Thornton has posted 36 assists and 5 goals in 65 games.
JOE THORNTON’S MILESTONE GAMES
Game #1 Oct. 8, 1997 Boston at Phoenix
Game #1,000 Oct. 21, 2011 San Jose at New Jersey
Game #1,400 Dec. 20, 2016 San Jose vs. Calgary
First NHL Goal Dec. 3, 1997 Boston at Philadelphia (G. Snow)
First NHL Assist Jan. 25, 1998 Boston at Washington
1,000th Career Point April 8, 2011 San Jose at Phoenix
1,300th Career Point Jan. 26, 2016 San Jose vs. Colorado
500th Career Assist Feb. 17, 2008 San Jose at NY Rangers
600th Career Assist Nov. 20, 2009 San Jose vs. Philadelphia
700th Career Assist Oct. 25, 2011 San Jose at Nashville
800th Career Assist Nov. 2. 2013 San Jose vs. Phoenix
900th Career Assist March 19, 2015 San Jose at Toronto