JOE THORNTON SIGNS 3 YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION - FILE PHOTO
JOE THORNTON CAREER STATS IN BOSTON AND SAN JOSE
The San Jose Sharks announced Saturday afternoon that center Joe Thornton signed a 3-year, $21-million contract extension to remain in teal for at least the next four seasons. “Joe stepped up and made a tremendous commitment to this franchise, his teammates and the fans in San Jose,” San Jose EVP/GM Doug Wilson said of the signing. The former Hart Trophy and Art Ross winning center has led the Sharks in scoring in each of the last 4 regular seasons.
Re-signing Joe Thornton to a moderate length, affordable contract extension is somewhat of a departure from the norm for an NHL general manager. The path often traveled included the 17-year, $102-million Ilya Kovalchuk contract rejected by the NHL this summer, and similar career spanning and then some agreements: Duncan Keith (13 years), Roberto Luongo (13 years), Marian Hossa (12 years), Vincent Lecavelier (11 years). In a shifting NHL economic environment, San Jose Sharks EVP/GM Doug Wilson has taken a decidedly different route. After locking up Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski to 3-year contracts this summer, Wilson now has five top-6 forwards and three defenseman signed for at least the next 3 seasons. Seldom have NHL teams had such a clearly defined window for success.
This is the second time Joe Thornton has signed a contract extension to remain in San Jose. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound native of London, Ontario was recently named captain of the San Jose Sharks, an honor he shared once before with the Boston Bruins. “I like to think San Jose is one of the best organizations in the NHL. For them to think so highly of me it is a huge honor, and I welcome it,” Thornton told Comcast Sportsnet upon being named captain.
San Jose Mercury News beat writer David Pollak was surprised that Thornton took a paycut, and had a reaction from him today after practice. “I love it here. This is home for me and my family and I can’t imagine going anywhere else. It’s nice to have it done and now we just have to do some things to win the Stanley Cup.”
There are limited unofficial contract details from capgeek.com, but Thornton could earn $8 million in 2011-12, $7M in 2012-13, and $6M in 2013-14, with a $7M cap hit across the board. According to SportingNews.com, the contract negotiations with agent/brother John Thornton took “minutes”, and included a no-movement clause.
Earlier this summer, John Thornton said he could see his brother Joe finishing his career in Northern California. “He just loves it there, I could see him spending the rest of his life in San Jose,” he told the Mercury News.
[Update] More contract details courtesy of ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun twitter feed:
Contract breakdown: $7M salary in 11-12 plus $1M signing bonus; $1M sb in July 2012 and $6M salary for 12-13; $6M salary for 13-14.