Bay Area Sports: Ranking the Top 30 Players

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Nov 3, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) looks to pass against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 3rd period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports The Columbus Blue Jackets won 5-2.

#25 – Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks

Joe Thornton is no young pup anymore, and the subtle specks of gray in his beard are an indicator. Even at 36 years old, he’s still recognized as one of the best passers that the NHL has to offer.

Thornton spent the first seven and a half years with the Boston Bruins and was their captain when the Sharks acquired him in the middle of the 2005-2006 season. Now over a decade into his Sharks’ career, “Jumbo Joe” is one of the most accomplished players the Sharks have had and a fan favorite in the Bay Area Sports scene.

Though never a huge goal scoring threat, Thornton made up for it with his innate passing abilities. Since joining the Sharks, Thornton has led the league in assists three times (including the season split between San Jose and Boston) and has finished in the top-1o six other times. He has led the Sharks in assists every year since joining them, even in his trade year, when he played only 58 games for San Jose. Each of the seven-best assist seasons in team history belongs to Thornton. He holds the franchise record for assists and has the highest plus-minus.

Thornton was an impact player when the Sharks acquired him, and he has remained that way over his decade-long career by the Bay. He may not be the high-efficiency player of yesteryears, but Thornton is still getting it done after all these games.

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