Thornton spent the last 15 years with the Sharks, becoming a fan favorite affectionately nicknamed "Jumbo Joe."
An end of an era, Jumbo Joe is officially not on the @SanJoseSharks. The Toronto Maple Leafs announced they signed future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton on a one year deal after 15 years in the Bay Area. Thank you, Joe. pic.twitter.com/lt2hVEFAOI— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) October 16, 2020
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed the 41-year-old forward Friday to a one-year, $700,000 contract.
The Sharks haven't yet released a statement on the matter. In fact, it appears they need some time to process the monumental loss of a legend:
Going to log off for a bit. Brb. Maybe.— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 16, 2020
Thornton, a six-time all star and the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2006 as the NHL's MVP, is the second Ontario-born veteran to sign a league-minimum deal with the Maple Leafs in free agency, joining Jason Spezza.
Selected first overall by Boston in the 1997 NHL draft, Thornton has 420 goals and 1,089 assists in the 1,636 regular-season games with the Bruins and San Jose Sharks and 31 goals and 102 assists in 179 playoff games.
In 70 games last season for San Jose, he had seven goals and 24 assists.
As ABC7's sports producer put it, this is a "mammoth loss" for the Sharks:
A MAMMOTH loss for the Sharks. Legend. https://t.co/9AGaFDilk1— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) October 16, 2020
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The Associate Press contributed to this article.