Sharks players send Thornton heartfelt messages after signing with Leafs

Maple Leafs Klokebook UFA exit interviews Brandon Pridham’s true value more

The Maple Leafs have signed Joe Thornton, theoretically filling their third-line center role without putting too much strain on their cap.

In his National Hockey League career, the London, Ont. native is a six-time All-Star, recorded 420 goals and 1,636 points, and he was the recipient of the Art Ross and Hart Trophy in 2006.

Thornton was originally drafted from the Soo Greyhounds (OHL) by the Boston Bruins with the first overall selection in the 1997 NHL Draft.

He had 31 points in 70 games for the Sharks last season, skating a career low 15:30 per game on average.

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Thornton's deal does not include a substantial number of performance bonuses.

Thornton had 33 points in 23 games at the time of the trade, and continued his torrid scoring pace with the Sharks. He also earned the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2006.

Thornton is the second Ontario-born veteran to sign a league-minimum deal with the Leafs in this free agency, joining Jason Spezza.

More importantly, though, it's just a great story, with a future Hall of Famer coming to Toronto in hopes of being the final piece to end the franchise's Stanley Cup drought.

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