Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson has locked up team captain Joe Thornton
with a three-year, $21 million contract extension that will keep the 2006 Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner in the Bay Area through the 2013-14 season.
“Joe stepped up and made a tremendous commitment to this franchise, his teammates and the fans in San Jose," Wilson said. "We are very pleased that we now have another key piece of this team's core under contract for the next four seasons.”
Along with core players like Patrick Marleau
, Joe Pavelski
, Ryane Clowe
, Dan Boyle
, Douglas Murray
, Dany Heatley and others, the Sharks have again ensured their most valued assets are under contract long term. Thornton’s commitment to his teammates as the team’s captain played a large role in the deal as the talented center once again relinquished several years of unrestricted free agency to stay in San Jose. Like several players earlier this summer, Thornton negotiated a contract that allows Wilson to keep many of the team’s other core pieces intact.
For Wilson, the decision to extend Thornton was an easy one when looking at his career production and the center's desire to stay with the organization.
“Joe is among the top players in the game, and along with several other core members of our team, we feel he is just entering the prime of his career," Wilson said.
Thornton was recently named team captain while the club was in Europe and Wilson says there is a reason for that honor. "Jumbo" has scored more points than any player in the league since the 2002-03 season and brought San Jose the only Hart Trophy in franchise history, but his off ice skills are just as important.
“He has always been a team-first player and he has embraced the role of being the captain and leader of this team," Wilson said. "Since Joe joined the NHL in 1997, no player has scored more points in the League than he has, averaging more than a point per game for almost 1,000 games and his average is nearly 1.25 points-per-game since coming to San Jose.”
At just 31 years old, Thornton ranks 58th on the NHL's all-time assist list (646) and 87th on the all-time points list (933). In addition, he has the most career NHL points (933) of any player who started the season 31-years-old or younger.
Thornton’s streak of seven consecutive 20-goal and 50-assist seasons are the longest for any player since Steve Yzerman and Doug Gilmour posted eight consecutive from 86-87 to 93-94.
His 10 consecutive seasons of 20+ goals is the second longest active streak in the League next to Jarome Iginla's 11.