Joe Thornton isn’t under contract for the 2019-20 season just yet but the San Jose Sharks are expecting it to be business as usual this fall.
Thornton appeared to verbally commit to playing his 22nd NHL season but remains an unrestricted free agent.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer appears to believe it’s a mere formality, however.
"My understanding is that Joe Thornton is going to play," DeBoer said to Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com. "I saw him two days after our season ended in the gym working out. I think he's on record as saying he's going to play and still has gas left in the tank.
"For me, I'm moving forward as if he's going to be in our lineup in September."
Thornton previously said in May that if he were to return, it would only be with the Sharks.
The 40-year-old notched 16 goals and 51 points during the 2018-19 campaign.
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