Marleau believes Sharks will miss Thornton's presence


While one Sharks icon returned earlier this week, another left town Friday.

Three days after Patrick Marleau returned for a third tour of duty with the Sharks, his fellow 41-year-old running mate, Joe Thornton, signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Thornton's move north of the border stunned everyone, including Marleau, who similarly left the Sharks for the Leafs in 2017.

Marleau, who doesn't have a Twitter account (that we know of), used his wife's account to send a farewell message to Jumbo.

Marleau and Thornton will forever be linked together. In 1997, Thornton was selected No. 1 overall in the NHL draft, while Marleau went next at No. 2 overall to the Sharks.

In 2005, the Canadians became teammates when the Sharks acquired Thornton from the Boston Bruins for three players.

Marleau and Thornton guided the Sharks to the playoffs in 11 of their first 12 seasons together before Marleau left for Toronto.

RELATED: Sharks players react to Thornton signing with Leafs

The duo never was able to bring the Stanley Cup back to the Bay Area, though they came close in 2016.

It looks like Marleau and Thornton have played their last game as teammates, but knowing how much they love to play hockey, don't put it past them to keep playing beyond the 2020-21 NHL season and join forces on the Sharks or another team.