I started wondering if that would be a good decision for a player like the 34-year-old Thornton.
Despite his age, the man they call Jumbo Joe would no doubt get some pretty lucrative offers from teams looking for that one key piece to finish the puzzle that would hopefully lead to the Stanley Cup. However, could Thornton have the same success elsewhere that he’s had, and likely will have this season, in Northern California?
With the Sharks, Thornton is not only looked at to be a leader for the young guys on the team, but he’s also expected to produce a lot of points. It’s a role that he has enjoyed, and thrived in, with this team during his seven-year tenure.
He has some of the sickest mitts in the game, even at his age, and will always be good for at least 50 assists no matter where he plays. He could go (obviously) to a lot of other teams, but there is nowhere where he would be appreciated more than in San Jose.
Thornton won’t be a No. 1 center with a different team, he won’t be viewed as “the guy” and he certainly won’t be put in a position to produce in the way he’s used to.
He won't ever be pushed aside in San Jose because those involved within the organization know what he means to the team. He's in a situation now where every top player hopes to be toward the latter stages of an NHL career.
As long as he’s with the Sharks, Thornton will be the team’s captain, its No. 1 center and its primary playmaker. There is nothing that is going to change that any time soon.
Thornton is building a legacy in San Jose, and there would be no sweeter drink than that one coming out of the Cup that he earns with the Sharks.
The window for him to win is closing, but things may finally—after all of these years—be falling into place for Jumbo Joe and the Sharks. San Jose has a chance to win over the next couple of years, and it won’t be without its big man in the middle.