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The San Jose Sharks missed out on the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and there is a bit of uncertainty for the future. The Sharks have a number of high profile players, so it will be interesting to see what they do if they commit to a rebuild. Either way, contracts are something to keep an eye on for the Sharks.
Speaking of contracts, let’s take a look at the top five highest-paid Sharks in franchise history (per Spotrac):
5. Marc-Édouard Vlasic
There should be more respect put on Marc-Éduoard Vlasic’s name. He is one of those shutdown defensemen who is playing his best game when you don’t hear his name too often. Doesn’t turn the puck over, won’t let you get around him in the defensive zone, just a solid defensive defenseman.
Vlasic is a gold medal winner, representing Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. He also has played in the Stanley Cup Finals, when the Sharks lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016.
As a result, he got himself a pretty good deal in 2018, an eight-year, $56 million contract. In total, Vlasic has earned $56,070,854 from the Sharks. Since he’s 34 years old, with five years left on the contract, this may have been his big last payday, but he’s been the silent killer on the Sharks’ back end.
The Sharks’ captain has been on the Sharks his entire 12-year career in the NHL. He’s been the captain since the 2019-20 season.
Couture signed an eight-year extension in 2018 worth $64 million. He’s been instrumental in the Sharks’ success. When the Sharks made a run to the Finals in 2016, Couture led all players in assists (21) and in points (36).
The 2018-19 season was arguably Couture’s best year. After a career-high, 70-point regular season, Couture helped the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. He led all players in goals with 14 during the playoffs. Hopefully there will be more Playoff Couture to be seen next season.
3. Brent Burns
Long beard. Tattoos all over. Missing teeth. And a whole lotta cash for Brent Burns.
The defenseman for the teal cashed in after a stellar 2015-16 season in which he had 75 points in the regular season and 24 points in 24 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Penguins. He signed an eight-year, $64 million extension, and the very first year after signing it, Burns took home the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in the league.
In total, Burns has earned $70,800,000 in his time in San Jose, a pretty good pull for someone who came into the league as a forward, but found his true calling on the blue line.
2. Patrick Marleau
No one has played in more games in the NHL than Patrick Marleau, so it makes sense he comes in at No. 2 on the Sharks’ highest-paid list.
Not many have had more of an impact on the Sharks than Marleau. He is the franchise leader in goals, even strength goals, power play goals, points, shots and, of course, games played. He has had three stints with the Sharks, spanning over 21 seasons. He hasn’t really had a big contract with the team either -- the most lucrative deal he ever signed was for four years and $27.6 million.
The future of Marleau isn’t set in stone, but he plans to return for a 24th season and wants to return to San Jose, if possible. While the deal would probably be somewhere around the verteran minimum, Marleau already has $81,529,555 from the Sharks in his bank account.
1. Joe Thornton
While no longer with the team, Jumbo Joe still comes in at No. 1 on this list. He’s had a long, 23-year career -- evident by his rather wild, grey beard -- and has brought in quite the cash.
Thornton is currently playing north of the border with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but while playing 14 seasons in the Bay, he earned $89,281,561. Like Marleau’s, Thornton’s money has accumulated gradually over time. The biggest contract he’s received in his career was a three-year, $21.6 million deal in 2008.
The former captain may never put on the teal again, with his future also uncertain at the end of the season. Jumbo will be 42 years old in July, so we’ll see what lies ahead for Thornton.