Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thornton Played Post-Seasn with Torn ACL, MCL

Come playoff time, you have your bad-asses and you have your super bad-asses. 37-year-old Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks slots in with the latter group.

On locker cleanout day in San Jose Monday it was revealed that Thornton was dealing with a torn MCL and ACL during the playoffs. Thornton suffered the injury on April second and he needed over a week before returning to action in Game 3 of the Sharks series with the Oilers.

He looked pretty good in the playoffs, putting up two points and four shots and playing over 22 minutes in Game 5 and Game 6.

But on Monday Thornton revealed that he was not pretty good at all. In fact he was bad.

Thornto shrugged it off admirably.

"Just the normal stuff that hockey players have to deal with," he said on Monday.

Looking ahead to next season, it is still unknown if Thornton will be back in a Sharks uniform. He'll be 38 when the 2017-18 season begins and he will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, along with Patrick Marleau. Thornton and Marleau eat nearly $14 million of cap space at the moment, and if the Sharks resign both, it means they will not be able to make many personnel moves unless they can bring back both at a significant discount.

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury news thinks Thornton will have a tough time getting offers from other clubs given his health, so the Sharks have a strong bargaining position with him at the moment. Perhaps the same will be true for Marleau. Coming off a 27-goal season, the 37-year-old said he feels as if he can play another five years today. The Sharks probably don't want to go down that road on term, however.

Both Thornton and Marleau have expressed desire to be back, but if either want a long-term deal it will be very tricky for San Jose, who want to get extension done on Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Martin Jones before next season starts. Both players are up for new deals at the end of next season.