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Adam Gretz makes Hart case for Joe Thornton

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No one has been as valuable to their team as Thornton has to the Sharks.

We've made this argument, too, but it's nice to see it come from someone outside Sharks land. CBSSports.com's Adam Gretz contends Thornton deserves the NHL's MVP award because of the dire straits the Sharks would be without him.

The stats he presents are a bit sobering, in truth, as it shows just how mediocre the Sharks would be without the future hall of famer. Patrick Kane has certainly put forth a better statistical season (scoring 100 points doesn't happen in the NHL these days, in case you hadn't noticed) but he's not as important to his team as Thornton is to the Sharks.

Thornton's passing ability makes him who he is, but the diversity of his skill set never ceases to amaze me. Even at 36, Thornton is finding success with the Sharks in the same way he has for the past several years. Jumbo only has one more year left on his contract, but at this point it seems he'll find takers if he wants to keep playing beyond that.