Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/26/15

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks warms up before the preseason NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on September 26, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The San Jose Sharks’ season ended in bitter disappointment as they blew a 3-0 first-round playoff series lead to the rival Los Angeles Kings and lost in Game 7. As the top forward and captain of the Sharks for the last decade, much of the blame for the team’s inability to reach the Stanley Cup Final despite having extraordinarily talented teams has fallen on the shoulders of Joe Thornton. Thornton, who will turn 35 before next season, has been the subject of trade speculation with the possibility that San Jose either undergoes a full rebuild or breaks up its veteran core. According to his agent and bother, John, one situation in which Jumbo Joe could consider moving on from the Sharks is if the support from the fans diminished. “If he felt the fans didn’t want him in San Jose, he might re-think things,” John Thornton said, per David Pollak of The Mercury News. “He’s perfectly happy there right now,” John added. “He wants to stay there and win the cup. He believes they still have enough talent.” As much as Thornton wants to believe the Sharks are still legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, the fact is they aren’t on the level of Pacific Division rivals the Anaheim Ducks and Kings. With the new playoff format requiring teams to go through divisional opponents in the first two rounds, San Jose is unlikely to reach the Cup Final if L.A. or Anaheim stands in its way. An argument could easily be made that the Sharks wouldn’t match up well against Central Division opponents such as the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche in potential Western Conference final series. If Thornton does want to leave, he will have a lot of say in which team acquires him because of the no-move clause in his contract.Filed under: NHL, Nicholas Goss, Top Stories
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