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San Jose Sharks veteran Joe Thornton unsure of retirement

By
Connor Grott
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton had 51 points in 73 regular-season games this season. He added 10 points in 19 postseason games. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton had 51 points in 73 regular-season games this season. He added 10 points in 19 postseason games. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

May 24 (UPI) -- San Jose Sharks veteran center Joe Thornton is undecided on retirement or a possible return for his 22nd NHL season.

"I got to talk to [coach] Pete [DeBoer] and [general manager] Doug [Wilson], but we'll see," Thornton told reporters Thursday during his exit interview. "I haven't made any decision. I feel like I can still play, that's for sure. I haven't made any decision at all yet."

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Thornton said if he chooses to return, it'll only be with the Sharks.

"I'm a Shark," Thornton said. "There's one team, and it's here."

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Thornton, who turns 40 on July 2, played on a one-year contract this season and could become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He has played with the Sharks since they acquired him in a trade with the Boston Bruins, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft, on Nov. 30, 2005.

The veteran forward had 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists) in 73 regular-season games. He added 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 19 playoff games this season.

Thornton has 1,024 points (244 goals, 780 assists) in 1,034 career games with the Sharks.

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"He can have all the time he needs to make whatever decision's right for him, but we love him," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told reporters. "I've been in this business a long time. I've never met anyone like him and we cherish the days we have him. Whatever decision he makes, we're there for him."

The St. Louis Blues ended the Sharks' season with a win in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night. The Blues play the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

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