Joe Thornton will be back in a San Jose Sharks jersey this fall, his 22nd season in the NHL.
Thornton, 40, signed a one-year contract worth a reported $2 million for the 2019-20 season, which will be his 15th with the organization. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that the contract has no bonuses, just straight salary.
The deal for the now-former unrestricted free agent continues a string of one-year contracts for Thornton, who has now signed them in three consecutive years.
“Probably play another 10 years,” Thornton quipped at the 2019 NHL Awards. “We’ll wait and see, but I’m thinking 5 to 10 right now. I got nothing else going on.”
Thornton scored 16 times and helped out on 35 others in 73 games last season, pushing his career points total to 1,478 as he passed Teemu Selanne and Stan Mikita to sit 14th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list.
Thornton needs 22 points to become the 14th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500-point milestone. He sits 53 points back of Paul Coffey for 13th on the all-time list and 55 back of Mark Recchi for 12th.
“Words cannot equate the impact that Joe has had on this franchise since his arrival in San Jose in 2005,” said general manager Doug Wilson in a release on the team’s website. “Joe is a generational player who seemingly blazes past an existing Hall-of-Famer with each game he plays. His leadership and dedication to the organization and his teammates is inspiring. He has the rare ability to make the players around him better and we’re excited to see him healthy and back wearing the Sharks crest.”
The Sharks have kept their summer dealings mostly in-house, highlighted by the long-term deal they struck with Erik Karlsson, along with restricted free agent deals with Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc, among others.
San Jose reached the Western Conference Final last season before an injury-depleted roster ultimately fell to the eventual Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis Blues in six games.
The deal comes as a $3 million pay cut for Thornton, who made $5 million last season and $8 million the year prior. The Sharks have just over $2.6 million remaining under the salary cap and a roster of 22 players.
• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck