The San Jose Sharks are looking for a fresh start after blowing a 3-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and have stripped Joe Thornton of his captain status.
“We’re starting this year with a clean slate,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said via Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area. “Coming into training camp, everyone is starting with no equity — from rookies through all of the veterans.”
This was not a stripping but rather the team cleaning the slate as coach Todd McLellan sees it and Thornton can get the “C” back on his sweater if he earns it or it can go to someone else.
“We’re going to reestablish the hierarchy and the culture in the organization,” McLellan said. “If it’s real evident that [Thornton] is the guy, he’ll be the captain. If there’s somebody else that assumes that role and is prepared to take it on and is doing a very good job, then they will be. To say we stripped him, no. We’ve cleaned the slate, and we’re going to go forward.”
Thornton, 35, signed a three-year extension along with Patrick Marleau , who was removed of his assistant captain status, during the regular season that includes a no-movement clause.
The former captain of the Sharks was the subject of trade rumors this offseason, although none that were very substantive, but the stripping of the captaincy shows the Sharks willingness to usher in a new generation.
Moving forward with a young and talented nucleus of Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic taking on leadership roles could prove to be a wise move considering Thornton’s propensity to shrink in clutch situations and the postseason.