San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has provided a promising update on forward Joe Thornton.
The expectation, according to Wilson on Friday, is that Thornton, who turns 38 years old on July 2, will be ready for the start of next season, following an MCL injury suffered versus the Canucks shortly before the beginning of the playoffs and subsequent offseason surgery.
Where he’s playing next season has yet to be finalized.
Thornton and Patrick Marleau are both pending unrestricted free agents, which means the Sharks don’t have to worry about them in the expansion draft. Both have already expressed a desire to remain in San Jose beyond this past season. However, both are 37 years old and will be 38 before the start of next season.
“Well, first of all, Jumbo is doing extremely well. He’s been in here every day, looks really good. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’ll be ready and fit to start the season. The work that he’s put in already, that’s pure Jumbo. He loves the game. I see him every day here at the rink,” said Wilson, per Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area.
“As far as the negotiations, some of it depends on where the overall cap number is going to be, and obviously identify – there are some other key contracts that I have to try and get in place. As far as both Patty and Jumbo, we’ve had some dialogue. That will continue and remain private.”
Without Thornton and Marleau under contract, the Sharks have about $14.28 million in cap space, provided the cap remains at $73 million for next season. The Sharks would also like to get goalie Martin Jones signed to a contract extension, as well as Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Both are pending unrestricted free agents in 2018.
With the trade-waiver freeze about to kick in tomorrow ahead of the expansion draft, Wilson also left the door open to the possibility of a deal before the freeze takes affect.