Just over a week after the San Jose Sharks named Joe Thornton(notes) their new captain, the 31-year old pivot inked a three-year, $21 million extension. Thornton would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer and likely could have gotten more if he were to post a sixth straight 80-plus point season.
Pierre LeBrun, who broke the news this afternoon, hinted on Hockey Night in Canada's "Hot Stove" last Saturday that a new deal for Thornton was in the works. The move now locks up San Jose's main offensive core of Thornton, Dany Heatley(notes), Patrick Marleau(notes), and Joe Pavelski(notes) until the end of the 2013-14 season when all four are scheduled to become UFA's.
The deal, as LeBrun pointed out, is not a cap killer as far as term goes for the Sharks. Then again, "Jumbo Joe" has never been one for along-term contract. From our interview with Thornton last month:
"I've always signed three-year deals. I don't know why. I've never thought about signing a 15-year deal in my entire life. So much can happen in 15 years. For that whole escapade to go on, I never thought it was going to affect me at all, to be honest with you."
According to LeBrun, Thornton deal breaks down to $7 million next season with a $1 million signing bonus; then another million dollar bonus in July of 2012 and then $6 million per season in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The discount wil help GM Doug Wilson build around his already locked up core.
Heading into next season, the Sharks will have around $50 million wrapped up among 14 players with Devin Setoguchi(notes) (restricted) and Niclas Wallin(notes) (unrestricted) among those looking for new deals this summer.