Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl returning to Sharks

ByEmily Kaplan ESPN logo
Monday, July 2, 2018

After losing out on the John Tavares sweepstakes, the San Jose Sharks made a couple of moves to solidify the roster on Monday, signing Joe Thornton to a one-year contract extension and giving a new four-year deal to Tomas Hertl.

The team did not disclose details of Thornton's contract, but multiple reports said he will make $5 million. He signed a one-year, $8 million deal last offseason to play his 20th season in the league.

Terms were not disclosed for Hertl, a restricted free agent who had a career-high 22 goals last season.

"Joe has become one of the faces of this franchise since his arrival in 2005 and we feel it's only fitting that he will be wearing teal going forward," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He is a generational playmaker and his accomplishments place him amongst the elite players to ever play the game. He has helped lead this team to new levels and continues to be one of the top two-way centers in the League."

The moves came the day after free agency began.

The Sharks were one of the six teams Tavares reportedly spoke to. When Tavares announced he would sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, Wilson released a statement that said: "It's extremely heartening to know that the top players in this league consistently view San Jose as a place they want to play. This is echoed by our own world-class players, such as Logan Couture, Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Martin Jones, who have continually chosen to bypass a chance at unrestricted free agency in recent years because they want to play in San Jose."

The Sharks also signed Couture to an eight-year extension on Sunday.

Thornton, who turned 39 on Monday, showed he still had plenty in the tank last season, with 36 points in 47 games before a right knee injury ended his season in late January. He expects to be healthy for next season and had said he hoped his return would come in San Jose.

Thornton, a surefire Hall of Famer, is a six-time All-Star with 397 goals and 1,427 points in 1,493 games.

He was the first overall pick in the 1997 draft for Boston. He spent over seven seasons there and was the face of the franchise before a shocking trade in 2005 sent him to San Jose for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau.

The Sharks have missed the playoffs only once since Thornton arrived, but they haven't been able to win the big prize. The closest they came was in 2015-16, when they lost to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final.

Hertl, 24, tied a career high with 46 points last season, his fifth with San Jose after being selected in the first round (17th) of the 2012 draft.

He had nine points in 10 playoff games.

"Tomas took a big step forward last season, both on and off the ice, and we feel that he is just starting to hit his prime," Wilson said in a statement. "He has the ability to be a dominant player in this league and proved during the playoffs that he can take over any given game with his combination of skill and strength. His capability to play both center and the wing gives our team some flexibility, and he has one of the most infectious personalities in our dressing room. We're excited he made this commitment to our organization."