-- Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced this morning that the club has signed forward Shawn Thornton
to a two-year, $2.2 million contract extension through the 2013-14 season.
“Since we got Shawn, he’s improved as a player, and his conditioning has allowed him to be a good fourth-line player in this league, and then a good catalyst in his own way,” Chiarelli said. “You see some of the skill that he has when he scores, when he makes some plays, but most importantly, you see the enthusiasm and the vigor that he brings to the rink every day, and that’s important for this team, and his character’s important for this team.”
The 34-year-old Thornton originally signed with the Bruins as a free agent on July 1, 2007, and has skated in 360 regular season games with the team. As a member of the Bruins, he’s registered 25 goals, 37 assists and 601 penalty minutes. During the 2010-11 season, Thornton set career highs in goals (10), assists (10) and points (20). This season, Thornton has 143 penalty minutes -- an NHL career high -- and currently leads the league in fighting majors (19).
“There’s the role of someone who exclusively fights in the league, and…I don’t put Shawn in that category,” Chiarelli said. “He really [takes] pride in his conditioning, and that’s allowed him to maintain his skating, and it’s allowed him to make plays…and he recognizes that that’s a valuable part of his game.”
For his career, the 6’2’’, 217-pound winger has played in 439 NHL games with the Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks, totaling 29 goals, 43 assists and 72 points, as well as 759 penalty minutes. The Oshawa, Ontario, native was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the seventh round (190th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to the Blackhawks for Marty Wilford on September 30, 2001, and then signed with the Ducks as a free agent on July 12, 2006.
“[When the Bruins originally signed Thornton in 2007,] we wanted to get bigger,” Chiarelli said, “and I think his ability to drop the gloves is obviously something that helps us as a team, but he can play some, too.”
Thornton is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, having won with the Ducks in 2007 and the Bruins last season. He played in 18 of Boston’s 25 postseason contests, tallying one assist and 24 penalty minutes.
“He brings energy on the ice and off the ice,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a witty guy, too, and he can throw the good barbs and get the guys ready, and [last year’s playoffs are] a perfect example of Shawn bringing energy and turning the momentum.”
Since joining the Bruins, Thornton has been one of the most active players in the community and has become a team leader in the locker room. He launched the “Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s” golf tournament and captains the team’s “Cuts for a Cause” head-shaving event to benefit children battling cancer.
“He’s like the definition of a team guy, on and off the ice,” said Bruins center Chris Kelly
after Boston's morning skate on Monday. “I think he has a lot of respect not just in this locker room, but throughout the league.”