The Stars have emerged as the favourites to land highly-coveted defenceman Erik Karlsson from the Senators. Sens forward Bobby Ryan would not be part of any deal between the two clubs. The report comes a day after the Senators opted to give teams permission to talk contract extension with Karlsson. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Sunday that the club offered Karlsson an extension as originally planned. Karlsson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next July 1 but is eligible to sign an extension now. Dorion was tight-lipped regarding details: “We don’t really want to talk about roster players, contract negotiations, trades, all these things, but I think we owe it to our fans and we made a promise at the town hall that we would make a contract offer to Erik Karlsson and we’ve done so. We’re not going to talk any more about it, but we talked about it previously and that’s about all we’re going to say on the subject.” One thing Dorion did make clear is that the Senators don’t plan to rush things this summer: “We start (the regular season) Oct. 4, we’ve got lots of time”. Karlsson’s name has been the subject of trade rumours for months. He was close to heading to Vegas at the trade deadline according to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. The 15th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, Karlsson has played nine seasons with the Senators. He had nine goals and 53 assists over 71 games last season in the nation’s capital. The 27-year-old has one year left on a seven-year, $45.5 million contract he signed ahead of the 2012-13 season. He will count $6.5 million against the cap next season.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson announced today that the club has re-signed Center Joe Thornton to a one-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed: “Joe has become one of the faces of this franchise since his arrival in 2005 and we feel it’s only fitting that he will be wearing teal going forward. He is a generational playmaker and his accomplishments place him amongst the elite players to ever play the game. He has helped lead this team to new levels and continues to be one of the top two-way centers in the League. Nobody loves the game of hockey more than Joe Thornton and his leadership on and off the ice have been instrumental in this franchise’s success. We’re excited that he has continued his commitment to this organization and the fans in San Jose.” Last season, Thornton recorded 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in just 47 games with San Jose. Despite missing the latter 35 games of the season due to injury, he ranked seventh on the Sharks in assists, tied for eighth in points, fifth in points per game (0.77), fourth in power-play points (18) – just one shy of his season total from the year before (79 games), third in faceoff win percentage amongst Sharks players with at least 200 draws (52.0%) and second in power-play time on ice per game (3:35). Thornton has recorded 1,427 points (397 goals, 1,030 assists) and a plus-197 rating in 1,493 career NHL games. Amongst all NHL players since Thornton entered the NHL for the 1997-98 season, he ranks first in both assists and points. During the 2017-18 season, Thornton climbed to 12th on the NHL All-Time Assists list and 16th on the NHL All-Time Points list. Amongst active NHL players, Thornton ranks second only to Jagr in career NHL points and assists and eighth in career goals. In 160 career playoff games, Thornton has posted 27 goals and 96 assists. Acquired by San Jose from Boston on Nov. 30, 2005, Thornton has 745 assists and 973 points in 961 games with the Sharks. During that span, no NHL player has more assists than Thornton and his 973 points with San Jose ranks third amongst all NHL players since the trade. On the Sharks franchise list, Thornton ranks near the top in most statistical categories. He is first in assists, points per game (1.01) and plus-minus (plus-172). He ranks second in points (973) and games played (961), and third in goals (228). In 2006-07, Thornton became only the third player in NHL history to have back-to-back 90-plus assist seasons (96 in 2005-06, 92 in 2006-07), joining only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Thornton led the NHL in assists in 2005-06 (96), 2006-07 (92), and 2007-08 (67). He became just the fourth player in NHL history to lead the League in assists for three consecutive seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Stan Mikita (Henrik Sedin has since joined this list in 2011-12). Thornton was named the winner of both the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2006, the season he was acquired by San Jose. He been selected to six NHL All-Star Games (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009), and was named an NHL First All-Star Team in 2006, and an NHL Second All-Star Team in 2003, 2008 and 2016. Internationally, Thornton has represented his native Canada on numerous occasions, including winning gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics (also selected in 2006), the 2004 and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and the 1997 World Junior Championships. The six-foot-four, 220-pound native of London, Ontario was originally selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round (1st overall) of the 1997 NHL Draft. He was acquired by San Jose from Boston on Nov. 30, 2005.