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NHL San Jose Sharks

Will San Jose Sharks look to extend Joe Thornton before next summer?

Joe Thornton

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This summer has seen the San Jose Sharks lock up a couple of important pieces for their future, in signing both Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski to contract extensions. Another deal for a veteran could be on the way, as there are reports of the club starting contract talks with Dan Boyle, set to become a free agent next summer.

That leaves a couple of key veterans on the roster, one of which currently sports a ‘C’ for the franchise, in Joe Thornton. Set to become a free agent next summer, and already carrying a $7 million cap hit, it’ll be interesting to see what the Sharks plan to do in regard to their captain in the next several months.

Though his game has declined over the years, Thornton hasn’t posted a season of less than 70 points in his time with the Sharks. Of course, he didn’t do so in the lockout shortened 2013 season, but he did post 40 points on the year, giving him a scoring rate of 0.83 points per game.

One of the best playmakers in the game, Thornton will likely approach 1,000 assists this season, with a full slate of games. He’s the type of player whose game isn’t predicated on speed, so he should age well. He’s not going to touch 100 points again, but should continue to be good for 60 or 70 in a given year.

Which is why the Sharks will likely to keep him around. It’s tough to envision a scenario where the Sharks simply let Thornton walk as a free agent. If they throw in the towel next season and decide to enter something of a rebuild, then perhaps they move him during the season. But short of that, we’ll likely see the Sharks approach him about a new deal at some point before or during the season. Anything else would be a surprise.