Joe Thornton played playoffs with torn ACL, MCL
San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton played this postseason with a torn MCL and ACL, coach Peter DeBoer said.
The 37-year-old Thornton suffered the injury on April 3 when his knee collided with Vancouver forward Michael Chaput. Thornton then sat out the rest of the NHL regular season and Games 1 and 2 of the first-round against the Edmonton Oilers. He notched two assists and averaged 18:50 of ice-time in four games this postseason. San Jose lost the series against the Oilers in six games. Thornton played over 22 minutes each in Games 5 and 6.
“Basically his knee was floating,” DeBoer said.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Thornton will have surgery later Monday. No timeline on Thornton’s recovery has been announced.
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It’s unclear what this means for Thornton’s future in San Jose. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent and there were rumors that he wanted a three-year contract with the Sharks, but the injury could complicate the possibility of a multi-year deal for someone his age. Also, Thornton’s point totals had dropped from 82 a year ago to 50 this season. This was his lowest full season point total since 1998-99.
Despite these production issues, Thornton still proved an excellent puck possession player with a plus-3.02 adjusted 5-on-5 CF% Rel in the regular season and plus-10.63 in the postseason.
Until to this injury, Thornton had been remarkably durable during his NHL career. Following his rookie year, the fewest games he had played in a full season was 66 in 2001-02 with the Boston Bruins. Since Thornton joined the Sharks in 2005-06, he hadn’t played less than 78 games in a non-lockout year.
Thornton’s previous deal was for three years and $20.25 million total.
The Sharks also need to decide how to proceed with longtime forward Patrick Marleau – another UFA this offseason. Marleau’s last deal was for three years and $20 million total.
The 37-year-old Marleau played the postseason with a broken thumb. He scored 27 goals this past season.
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“I love those guys,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said about Thornton and Marleau. “They play hard. If you guys only knew what they play through. The respect level that I have for those two guys is just through the roof.”
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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper
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