Sharks sign Joe Thornton to one-year contract

As if there was any doubt.

After the San Jose Sharks’ loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final to the St. Louis Blues that knocked them out of the Stanley Cup chase, Joe Thornton told the media that he hadn’t made any decisions on his future — his one-year deal for 2018-19 was set to expire on July 1 — but if he was to return to the NHL, it wouldn’t be anywhere else but San Jose.

Three months later, the heart and soul of the Sharks has returned for another season in teal.

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson announced on Friday morning that the Sharks have signed Thornton to a one-year contract. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported that the contract would carry a cap hit of an even $2 million, with no bonuses.

Joe Thornton is, simply put, one of the greatest players in Sharks history. He ranks first in all-time assists for the Sharks with 780, second in points with 1,024 and third in goals with 244. Among his accolades, Thornton also won the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy with the Sharks, both in the 2005-06 season.

“Words cannot equate the impact that Joe has had on this franchise since his arrival in San Jose in 2005,” Wilson said in a press release. “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.”

Thornton initially came to San Jose in a trade on November 30, 2005 from the Boston Bruins that saw Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart going the other way. Since that trade, he has etched his way to a certain Hall of Fame career. He currently ranks eighth in all-time assists with 1,065, 12th in all-time games played with 1,566 and 14th in all-time points with 1,478.

Not too bad of a career for someone who wasn’t considered to be one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players.