Joe Thornton had too many memorable moments to count in parts of 15 seasons with the Sharks, but San Jose's social-media team managed to compile as many as they could in a minute-long video tribute to the franchise legend after he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency.
From Thornton donning a Sharks sweater for the first time after his Nov. 30, 2005 trade from the Boston Bruins to his 2019 hat trick against those Bruins, take a trip down memory lane and remember his iconic San Jose career.
Thornton has called longtime teammate Patrick Marleau "Mr. Shark" for his association with San Jose, but the same could be said of Thornton himself.
The probable Hockey Hall of Famer elevated the Sharks to new heights, and his presence turned San Jose into a consistent Stanley Cup contender. Over the last 15 years, Thornton became:
- The first (and only) Shark to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP in 2005-06
- The first (and only) 100-point scorer in San Jose history in 2006-07
- The first (and only) Shark with 90 assists in a single season that same year
- The franchise's all-time leader in assists (804)
Thornton wasn't just a fan favorite, but the biggest star in the Sharks' history. His three end-of-season First- and Second-Team All-Star selections are tied with defenseman Brent Burns for the most ever by a San Jose player, and only Burns made more appearances in the NHL All-Star Game.
The 41-year-old is a lock to have his jersey retired whenever he hangs up his skates for good, even if Thornton has given no reason to believe he's going to retire any time soon. He's such a fixture in the NHL that it's difficult to imagine the league without him.
But with Thornton leaving the Sharks after a decade-and-a-half, San Jose fans will dread having a head start on that future.