The core group of the San Jose Sharks has won hundreds of hockey games together. This lineup has been one of the NHL’s best year after year after year.
But these Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup. That led to speculation that GM Doug Wilson could break up the nucleus if the team failed to win this spring.
Wilson quelled such talk by signing veteran forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to three-year extensions. He decided to give the group a chance to finish what it started.
“These are two elite players that have played extremely well this year,” Wilson told the San Jose Mercury News. “What I love about them is not only do they make some of the other players around them much better, but they've really allowed the growth of the Logan Coutures, and the Marc-Edouard Vlasics and the Joe Pavelskis."
Both players are 34 and both were headed toward unrestricted free agency at the end of the season. That was not an option they were eager to explore.
“We both feel like we have a shot to win every year, and that's the most important thing,” Thornton told the Mercury News. “We both really believe in this group of guys.”
Now Thornton will earn an average $6.75 million for the next three seasons while Marleau will average $6.66 million in annual pay.
Both players got no-movement clauses.
“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 told the Mercury News. “It's one of those things where we enjoy playing on the same team, and we want to win together.”
Defenseman Dan Boyle, 37, is also a pending UFA. Wilson hopes he can work a deal allowing Boyle to finish his career in San Jose, but the money will have to be right.