Joe Thornton recently signed a 3 year, $21 million extension with the San Jose Sharks. It’s a lot of money for just one guy, but it is a genius move by Sharks GM Doug Wilson. Here’s why:
First, it is an average annual salary of $7 million. Seems like a lot of money; however, it actually represents a $200K a year savings against the salary cap. That’s not a ton of extra space when the cap is close to $60 million. But when Devin Setoguchi needs to be resigned in the offseason, any additional space will be a blessing.
Second, and much more importantly, is the term of the contract: 3 years. This is significant because of Thornton’s current age: 31. This means that the extension will expire, and a new contract signed, when he is 34 years old. This protects San Jose from the restrictions placed on a contract signed by a player 35 years of age or older. It is this reason that Wilson was so shrewd in his architecture of this deal. He will now be free to sign Thornton to a 6 year contract with potentially lean years dollar wise in the last 2 years with no fear of the contract counting against the cap should Thornton decide to retire before the contract is fulfilled.
Another great move for Doug Wilson, as the Sharks will be primed to successfully navigate the salary cap and field competitive teams for years to come.
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