Apr 26, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) controls the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton Remains Controversial

Note: This article begins a series of posts by Blades of Teal analyzing players on the current San Jose Sharks roster; to be concluded prior to the start of training camp. 

Joe Thornton has been a huge part of the San Jose Sharks history. Wearing the ‘C’ on his sweater since 2010, there is no doubt he has made an extreme impact on this franchise.

2013-14 Season Review

Thornton played in 82 regular season games, recording 11 goals and 65 assists. Throughout all seven postseason games, he managed two goals and one assist. He continues to be one of the best passers the team has and creates amazing scoring chances for those on the ice with him. On the other hand, he scores very little for such a veteran captain, which is the basis of the controversial topics surrounding him.

Offseason Events

Joe Thornton has been signed to a three-year extension along with fellow teammate, Patrick Marleau.

Everyone has heard the rumors surrounding Thornton about being traded. This was due to the announcement of the Sharks rebuild and wanting to create a younger leadership. The 35 year old is considered anything but a young player, however his veteran status makes him an extreme talent around the league. Coach Todd McLellan has reiterated recently that Thornton, along with Marleau, are a part of the solution to the teams problems, putting these rumors to rest.

Thornton was also stripped of his captaincy this offseason. Another play of the infamous ‘rebuild’ of the franchise, there will be no captain or alternate captain going into training camp.

2014-15 Prediction

While Thornton’s goal stats are decreasing over the years, his assists are rising. Take a look at his stats since taking over captaincy in 2010:

2010 – 2011: Games Played – 80; Goals – 21; Assists – 40; +4

2011 – 2012: Games Played – 82; Goals – 18; Assists – 59; +17

2012 – 2013: Games Played – 48; Goals – 7; Assists – 33; +6

2013 – 2014: Games Played – 82; Goals – 11; Assists – 65; +20.

Thornton is nearing the most assists for any player in the NHL and still has a lot to offer the Sharks. Despite being stripped of the ‘C’, Thornton will likely continue to be looked upon for leadership. He has many years under his belt and the younger players on the roster would be wise to listen to his advice and watch what he does on the ice.

I predict Thornton will remain a vital player throughout the 2014-15 campaign.

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Tags: Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks

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