Joe Thornton is 37 years old and makes $6.75 million a season. Pierre LeBrun covered a lot of ground four days ago, but most notably he mentioned Thornton’s camp wants another three-year deal while San Jose is more likely to want a one-year deal. LeBrun notes Thornton’s contract would count as a 35-overage deal, meaning his contract will count against the salary cap no matter what, adding some extra risk to the Sharks.
Thornton is averaging 0.883 points per game over the past three-plus seasons and I don’t think his slight step back this season (0.65 points per game) is a reason for concern. Giving a 37 year old a three-year deal is a big risk, but it’s one the Sharks might have to take to remain Stanley Cup contenders. If the trade-off is a reduced salary, I might be willing to bite the bullet.
Salary cap flexibility becomes even more important for San Jose over the next two seasons. For more information, we head over to capfriendly.com. Looking at the Sharks page, you can see Joonas Donskoi, Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson Mirco Mueller and Tim Heed are all restricted free agents next year. Tomas Hertl is an RFA the year after and Martin Jones becomes an unrestricted free agent the same year.
If the Sharks can leave some cap space available to make a splash in the free agent market by paying Thornton a smaller salary, I think they should jump at the chance. If that means locking him up for three years instead of one or two, I don’t have a problem with it. Enough about me, though. What do you all think?