If Joe Thornton returns next season, it will only be with the San Jose Sharks

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Joe Thornton has been a San Jose Sharks since 2005 and he doesn't want that to change if his NHL career continues. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Joe Thornton has been a San Jose Sharks since 2005 and he doesn't want that to change if his NHL career continues. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that Joe Thornton is a legend.

From his magician-like playmaking to his awesome beards over the last two decades, the future Hall of Famer has put together an impressive career. With over 1700 regular season and playoff games combined, an Art Ross Trophy and a Hart Trophy under his belt, Thornton — who turns 40 on July 2 — has nearly done it all since being drafted first overall in 1997.

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The only thing he seemingly hasn’t done in his 21 seasons is win a Stanley Cup and that made watching his San Jose Sharks get knocked out of the Western Conference Final by the St. Louis Blues all the more difficult to watch.

Once the dust settled following St. Louis’ series-clinching victory on Tuesday, the native of London, Ont. didn’t want to address his future in hockey.

Following a few days of reflection, Thornton provided some information about his next steps.

"I'm a Shark," he said Thursday, according to Tracey Myers of NHL.com. "There's one team, and it's here."

After posting 16 goals and 51 points in 73 regular-season games this year, along with ten points in 19 postseason contests, it proves that Thornton is still more than capable of playing at this level.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer agreed.

“[Thornton's] still got game,” he said, according to Myers. “For me, I'd love to have him back.”

"He can have all the time he needs to make whatever decision's right for him, but we love him," added Sharks general manager Doug Wilson. "I've been in this business a long time, I've never met anyone like him and we cherish the days we have him. Whatever decision he makes, we're there for him."

Thornton is coming off a one-year deal worth $5 million and had signed another one-year contract for 2017-18.

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