SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) General Manager Doug Wilson announced Sunday July 2nd that the club has re-signed center Joe Thornton to a one-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“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,” said Wilson. “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 centers 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.”
Last season, Thornton recorded 50 points (7 goals, 43 assists) and a plus-seven rating in 79 games with San Jose. He ranked 2nd on the Sharks in assists, 4th in points, 3rd in power-play points (19), 4th in faceoff percentage (50.9%), and 2nd amongst forwards in average time on ice per game (18:03). He became just the second player in Sharks history to record 900 points with Team Teal (Patrick Marleau), recording his 900th point on Nov. 21 vs. New Jersey, and appeared in his 1,400th NHL game on Dec. 20 vs. Calgary. Thornton added two assists in four playoff games with San Jose despite playing through significant knee injuries.
On March 6, 2017 at Winnipeg, Thornton recorded his 1,000th career NHL assist (in his 900th game with San Jose), becoming only the 13th player in NHL history to reach the milestone. With his helper, Joe joined NHL legends Wayne Gretzky (1,963), Ron Francis (1,249), Mark Messier (1,193), Ray Bourque (1,169), Jaromir Jagr (1,149), Paul Coffey (1,135), Adam Oates (1,079), Steve Yzerman (1,063), Gordie Howe (1,049), Marcel Dionne (1,040), Mario Lemieux (1,033), and Joe Sakic (1,016) in the 1,000-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 (1,432).
Thornton has recorded 1,391 points (384 goals, 1,007 assists) and a plus-206 rating in 1,446 career NHL games. Amongst all NHL players since Thornton entered the NHL for the 1997-98 season, he ranks first in both assists and points. Amongst active NHL players, Thornton ranks second only to Jagr in career NHL points and assists. In 160 career playoff games, Thornton has posted 27 goals and 96 assists.
Acquired by San Jose from Boston on Nov. 30, 2005, Thornton has 722 assists and 937 points in 914 games with the Sharks. During that span, no NHL player has more assists than Thornton and his 928 points with San Jose ranks 3rd 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, points per game (1.03) and plus-minus (plus-181). He ranks second in points (937) and games played (914), and third in goals (215).
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.
The six-foot-four, 220-pound native of London, Ontario was originally selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round (1st overall) of the 1997 NHL Draft. He was acquired by San Jose from Boston on Nov. 30, 2005.