Is the door still open for Joe Thornton to play for the San Jose Sharks?
New GM Mike Grier didn’t slam it shut, when asked specifically in what capacity that Thornton would be welcome back to the Sharks.
“Things are kind of up to him. I don’t know if he wants to play or not play,” Grier said on the opening day of training camp. “When he figures that out, and his family figures that out, then I’m sure I’ll have a conversation with him at some point.”
Thornton was not on the Sharks’ initial training camp roster, released on Tuesday. There was some thought that San Jose could offer the 24-year NHL veteran, the No. 1 pick of the 1997 Draft, a PTO.
“I think he’s enjoying being a dad and being around his kids and helping coach his kids, and then kind of coming in here and skating with the guys,” Grier said.
Thornton reportedly has moved back to San Jose with his family and has been skating with Sharks players since Sept. 1. On Saturday, San Jose Hockey Now got video of Jumbo skating with some of his ex-teammates:
One of them, current San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture quipped, on Thornton’s whereabouts today, “I think he’s working out at [Devin Setoguchi’s gym]. Coming in here to use the shower.”
Ex-Shark Setoguchi recently opened a gym in San Jose, F45 Willow Glen, and Thornton has worked out there over the last two summers.
Thornton could also return to the San Jose Sharks in another organizational role.
“He does always have positive energy to him. Whenever he’s done, and [Patrick Marleau is] done, they’re definitely people I’d like to have around the organization,” Grier said. “They know so much about the game. The young players in this dressing room, they respect those guys immensely. It’s always nice to have another set of eyes, to pick their brain about what they see about players, in the game in general.”
Fellow San Jose Sharks legend Marleau officially retired in May, after a season out of the NHL. The No. 2 pick of the 1997 NHL Draft, Marleau scored 1,111 of his 1,197 career points with the Sharks. Thornton notched 1,055 of his 1,539 points in teal.
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