Sharks basic supervisor Doug Wilson wished to have Joe Thornton again subsequent season and was keen to offer him the time he wanted to decide on the place he wished to play — both in San Jose or in Toronto with the Maple Leafs.
Finally, although, Wilson is aware of the 2 groups are simply in several spots. Whereas the Leafs really feel they’ll be able to compete for a Stanley Cup subsequent yr, the Sharks could have an extended street again after they completed 29th out of 31 groups this previous season.
“They’d a greater yr than we did final yr. We’ve got to reestablish our recreation,” Wilson stated Sunday of the Leafs. “In order that’s a good and trustworthy analysis with the way it sits at present, and it’s as much as us to go change that. Joe is, at 41, taking a look at what the runway left is in alternative, so I absolutely perceive that.
“So it’s as much as us to go to work, get again at it, study from what occurred final yr, get the blokes wholesome.”
Friday, Thornton signed a one-year contract with Toronto, ending an unforgettable 15-year tenure with a Sharks group that now wants to seek out an id with out its greatest emotional chief.
“It’s exhausting to place into phrases the impression Joe had on our franchise over the past 15 seasons,” Wilson stated. “He got here right here as a 26 yr previous and now he’s 41. He’s nonetheless childlike in his love for the sport, and I feel there’s most likely only a few gamers in all sports activities that may alter a franchise in a means that he has.”
Wilson and Thornton have spoken with every frequently over the previous couple of weeks. Wilson stated he was trustworthy with Thornton concerning the steps he was taking to attempt to get the Sharks again to a extra aggressive degree long run.
“On this yr’s draft, we ended up drafting 9 forwards. We would have liked to rejuvenate and replenish our system,” Wilson stated. “I wasn’t actually able to maneuver, doubtlessly, our first spherical decide subsequent yr.
“So I shared all the knowledge I may with him with the place we’re at, and I wished him to make the fitting resolution for him for every part he’s completed for all of us. I didn’t need to put any stress on him. That is only a distinctive time and place. We haven’t performed for a very long time, we’re coping with a pandemic we’re unsure once we’re going to begin subsequent yr. So I wished him to have all the knowledge he wanted to make the fitting resolution for him.”
Thornton’s departure marks the third time in 4 yr a franchise cornerstone has left the group in free company.
When Patrick Marleau left in 2017, the Sharks had Timo Meier able to take these minutes on the highest six ahead group. When Joe Pavelski left for Dallas final yr, although, the Sharks didn’t anyone able to fill that void — on or off the ice.
Now Thornton’s gone, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how the Sharks will reply with out one other heart-and-soul participant.
“It’s as much as everyone else that noticed what he did, how he lived his life, and emulate that and convey it to the desk so we will reestablish our recreation and our group,” Wilson stated. “He’s considered one of a form, and anyone that’s ever hung out round him, it’s infectious. We’re very, very lucky. I can’t even use the phrase appreciation sufficient for what he’s delivered to all of us.”
The Sharks, who haven’t performed a recreation since March, are absolutely wholesome, with Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture all previous the accidents they’d final season.
“We’ve got to be the sum of all our elements,” Wilson stated. “There’s groups round this league which have misplaced some good gamers. Some groups misplaced their greatest gamers of their primes, they usually discovered their group recreation they discovered their collective connection and had a number of success.
“So there’s a number of parity on this league. We’d like everyone to convey one thing to the desk, study from what occurred final yr, reestablish our recreation, and convey that love and juice and vitality that Jumbo delivered to the rink.”
Wilson acquired Thornton on Nov. 30, 2005 from the Boston Bruins for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. Since then, the Sharks made the playoffs in 13 of 15 years and in 1,160 common season video games, had the NHL’s greatest factors share at .622.
With the Sharks, Thornton had 1,055 regular-season factors, second-most in franchise historical past. His 804 assists and plus/minus of 161 ranks No. 1 within the group’s historical past, and he’s second in video games performed (1,104).
Thornton received the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Artwork Ross Trophy in 2006. He helped the Sharks attain the Western Convention finals 4 occasions and the Cup closing in 2016. With Workforce Canada, Thornton additionally received Olympic gold in 2010 and the World Cup in 2016.
‘So these are the issues that I replicate (on) and respect,” Wilson stated. “However I feel much more than the numbers, he set a tradition of professionalism and unmatched love of the sport of hockey. He actually helped solidify the town of San Jose is a real hockey city.
“As a basic supervisor, it’s uncommon to be blessed with a participant, and much more importantly an individual, like Joe. We’re a greater franchise due to the time he spent right here.”