April 16, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) skates with the puck against the St. Louis Blues during the first period of game three of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at HP Pavilion. St. Louis defeated San Jose 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

What Does Joe Thornton Need to Prove?

Joe Thornton, now 33-years-old, has played 14 seasons in the NHL. What has he accomplished in his time? Well, he’s lead some teams to deep playoff runs and established himself as an All-Star.

Is that it?

Thornton doesn’t really have anything to be proud of. Like a championship. He hasn’t even participated in a Stanley Cup Finals game. No disrespect to him, but he’s nearing the end of his career: don’t you think that he’s a little hungry to get there?

So far with the Sharks, Thornton has lead them to the playoffs each year, as the captain that he is. The Sharks, however, didn’t do so well. They’re always deadly in the regular season, but nonexistent when it comes to the playoffs. Meaning, Thornton knows that he has a lot to prove in the final years of his career.

As the average age of the Sharks is very high, they might go into a time of rebuilding really soon, which would presumably mean no playoffs. They will lose players such as Brent Burns, Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, and Brad Stuart. That’s most of their first line right there. This is why in the next couple of seasons, the Sharks, lead by Thornton, will really need to strive for excellence.

With the experience they have, and the added depth of their third and fourth lines, the Sharks will no doubt make a couple of deep runs into the playoffs.

Thornton’s numbers of points, assists, and goals have steadily been dropping during his stint with the Sharks. Unfortunately for him, he’s becoming a washed up veteran. Although he is still good, shows up in big moments, and leads his team into the playoffs each year, he is still yet to push his team to a Stanley Cup Finals Game.

Such a feat may be possible this season since the lockout has occurred, but it’s not likely. Thornton needs to prove that he’s still got what it takes. Along with other veterans, new draft pick Tomas Hertl, and the continuing brilliance of Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, he must lead the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tags: Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks

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