Joe Thornton

Evander Kane reveals secret behind Joe Thornton's massive on-ice legs

Evander Kane reveals secret behind Joe Thornton's massive on-ice legs

Joe Thornton is a massive human being, standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds.

But according to Sharks teammate Evander Kane, Thornton's size isn't quite what it appears to be.

"I remember when I first came into the room and I had met him a bunch of times before, but on the ice, he has massive legs," Kane said during the NHL Player Gaming Challenge. "It looked like his lower legs were huge, but I realized it was knee braces. I was like, 'It's a brace.' "

Kane revealed the factoid about Thornton while playing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler in EA Sports NHL 20 on Saturday.

Thornton has good reason for wearing the knee braces. On April 2, 2017, Thornton suffered a torn left ACL and MCL, and played through the injuries. He sustained the same injury to his right leg in 2018.

So those knee braces are well-earned for the soon-to-be 41-year-old.

Thornton and Kane have been teammates since a Feb. 26, 2018 trade with the Buffalo Sabres brought him to the Sharks.

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Both Sharks players are in a holding pattern while the world combats the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. No one knows when, or if, the 2019-20 NHL season will resume.

But one thing is for sure: Thornton still will be rocking the bulky knee braces.

Sharks legend Joe Thornton shaves iconic beard with NHL season paused


Sharks legend Joe Thornton shaves iconic beard with NHL season paused

Joe Thornton made a drastic decision with the NHL season suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Sharks’ veteran center shaved his iconic beard.

Thornton is San Jose’s all-time assists leader, but the 40-year-old has become arguably more synonymous with his “lifestyle beard” in the last handful of seasons. He and teammate Brent Burns began growing beards during the 2015-16 season, and the beards became a staple for both players well beyond the 2015-16 Stanley Cup Final.

The two posed on the cover of the “Body Issue” for “ESPN: The Magazine” wearing, well, not much else outside of the beards.

Burns shaved Thornton’s beard at a team party ahead of the 2018-19 regular season, but Thornton missed his facial hair at practice the following morning.

“I regretted [shaving] as soon as it started hitting the floor,” Thornton told reporters on Oct. 28 at the Sharks' practice facility. “Hopefully it’ll grow back quickly.”

That it did.

[REALTED: Sharks reported 'front-runners' to sign top goalie prospect]

So when the Sharks next take the ice, Thornton probably is going to have plenty of facial hair in tow.

My vote? Thornton shouldn't shave again until he hangs up his skates for good. Although that could be a while if you listen to the man himself.

NHL free agency: How Sharks could benefit from league's lost revenue

NHL free agency: How Sharks could benefit from league's lost revenue

The NHL season remains indefinitely paused due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and teams are preparing for the long-lasting changes it will cause. A huge revenue decrease is expected, and consequently, the 2020 free-agent market will be negatively impacted.

However, it might not be the worst thing for the Sharks.

Though the salary cap once was expected to significantly increase during the 2020 offseason, that no longer is the case. Earlier this month, TSN's Frankie Seravalli reported that teams are preparing as if the salary cap will remain flat at $81.5 million for next season, with the most optimistic of expectations being a $1 million increase. As such, he expects many free agents will have to accept less money on the open market than they had been anticipating -- the reason being, there just aren't many teams with a lot of cap space.

According to Spotrac, seven teams will enter the offseason with less than $1 million in available cap space, and only half the league will enter it with more than $3 million. Unless teams find a way to generate considerable cap space, most of them won't have much wiggle room.

The Sharks, however, might stand to benefit.

Spotrac estimates San Jose currently will enter the 2020 offseason with just over $8 million in available cap space, which ranks as the seventh-most in the NHL. CapFriendly, however, estimates the Sharks have even more upcoming cap space -- just under $15 million to be exact. Though both of those numbers don't paint the full picture -- some of it would be used to re-sign some of the Sharks' pending free agents -- whatever the actual number is, it's likely to be considerably more than what most other teams have available to spend.

For a team intent on expediting a rebuild, that could come in very handy.

The Sharks did well to reload their cupboard of draft picks at the trade deadline, and if combined with some smart free-agent signings, San Jose could get back to a level of contention after a one-year hiatus. Forwards Joe Thornton and Kevin Labanc are the Sharks' most notable pending free agents, but neither will break the bank. Consequently, San Jose should be in the mix for some prominent free agents, who will have a tough decision to make.

Do they sign longer-term contracts for less money, or sacrifice that security for a shorter contract, but bigger payout? There surely will be plenty of free agents in each bucket, but one could argue both mentalities could lead a player to consider the Sharks. If they prioritize dollars over term, San Jose should be able to offer them more than most other teams. And if they opt for more security and a longer contract, the Sharks' mix of talent, experience and youth could be very attractive.

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In any case, it will be a very important offseason for the Sharks, whenever it takes place. They have several areas to address, and in a weird way, the indefinite pause of the season might help them do that.