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Joe Thornton returns

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Joe Thornton Looks To Be Back With Sharks

During locker clean out day, Joe Thornton said “I feel like I can still play, that’s for sure, but I haven’t made any decision at all yet.” It appears Joe Thornton has indeed made a decision to return for a 22nd NHL season and make another run for the Stanley Cup.

Nominated for the Masterton Trophy, Thornton is in Las Vegas this week for the NHL Awards. Per’s Tom Guilitti, Thornton said he wants return to the Sharks. Joe removed all doubt of him wearing any other color than teal when he declared “There’s one team, and it’s here. I’m a Shark” two days after being eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final.

In a morning conference call yesterday with the media, GM Doug Wilson stated “We support whatever time it takes for Joe Thornton to make a decision for his future. There will always be a place for Jumbo in this organization”. Doug Wilson helped make room to keep Jumbo earlier today when he traded defenseman Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2nd and 3rd round draft pick and got $3.8M more in cap relief.

Thornton, who turns 40 on July 2, is coming off a one-year deal worth $5 million last season. In order to fit in with the Sharks’ plans, Thornton will likely play for much less. It should be noted Jumbo was willing to give up some of his salary in order to keep Patrick Marleau a couple seasons ago so Joe has a history of making things work financially.

Last season, Thornton played 73 games, scoring 16 goals and 51 points along with four tallies and 10 points in 19 playoff games. With 1566 career games played, Thornton has 413 goals, 1,065 assists and 1,478 points and currently ranks 8th all-time in assists and 14th in points.

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