Marleau, a Shark since the 1997 NHL Draft, signed a three-year deal in Toronto on Sunday, while Thornton signed for one more year in San Jose, with that contract — one year, reportedly worth $8 million — getting announced Sunday, as well.
It was the end of an era for Marleau and the Sharks, who had hoped to bring back their long-time forward.
“I was in constant talks with Patty, texting and calling each other. Obviously I’m bummed that Patty’s not coming back. But I think he’s going to do great in Toronto and I think it’s going to be a good fit,” said Thornton, per CSN Bay Area.
“Patty is going to be a Shark for life, and he’s going to go down as the best Shark of all time. I’m just happy for him and his family. As far as the Sharks are concerned, everybody has got to just pick up the goal scoring a little bit and move on.”
A number of teams had interest in Thornton, including the rival L.A. Kings, according to reports, although the veteran playmaking center couldn’t really put an exact figure to it…
Having celebrated his 38th birthday on Sunday, Thornton previously underwent offseason surgery for a knee injury suffered late in the regular season. He told reporters that he’ll begin skating in about two weeks.
“I’m feeling strong,” Thornton said, per the Mercury News. “I’m not going to say I’m 100 percent right now, but I’m pretty darn close. I’m feeling comfortable with the knee.”