Sharks retain Thornton, Marleau on bargain contract extensions

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson signed veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to three-year contract extensions at slightly below their previous salaries.

Thornton’s deal averages $6.75 million per season, down from his current $7 million cap hit, while Marleau’s figure is $6.66 million from $6.9 million.

Both 34-year old players weren’t interested in testing the free-agent market July 1 but wanted to be sure the other was included in the team’s future plans.

They have no-movement clauses in their new contracts.

“If he wasn’t going to re-sign here, there’s probably a good chance I wouldn’t have re-signed here, as well,” Marleau said. “It’s one of those things where we enjoy playing on the same team, and we want to win together.”

The Sharks acquired Thornton from the Boston Bruins in November 2005 and has since teamed-up with Marleau to make the team among the NHL’s elite.

Marleau is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 908 points; Thornton is second with 717.

Thornton leads the NHL in assists with 47 and his 53 points lead the Sharks while Marleau has 21 goals and 47 points.

Coach Todd McLellan said feels that the failure of the Sharks to win the title during the Thornton-Marleau would serve as motivation going forward.

“The hunger grows as you get older because your opportunity for success is shorter,” McLellan said.

McLellan added he wasn’t concerned that there would be a decline in either player’s level of play by the end of the deal.

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