The Boston Bruins have recently announced that they have re-signed veteran winger Shawn Thornton to a two-year extension. The deal was made official this past Monday afternoon. He is due to receive $1.1 million per year.
Thornton, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1997 as the 190th overall pick. He had spent the majority of his career in the AHL before getting his break in 2006 when he played 48 games for the Anaheim Ducks. He had the privilege of hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time during his stint with the Ducks.
He signed with the Bruins in 2007 and has been a staple on the fourth line, also known as the “energy line.” Although he is known as a fighter and as someone who will stick up for his teammates, he is also a player who can score goals.
The 2010-11 season was his breakout year as a professional. He scored a career-high 10 goals and recorded 10 assists. He also has point totals of 4-8-12 at this point in the season. Thornton is currently tied for the league lead in fighting majors with Brandon Prust of the New York Rangers. Both players have dropped the gloves 19 times.
It is not an easy way to make a living and a player like Thornton is certainly worthy of an extension. Before he signed a new contract, he was only making $812,500, so the new deal was never in doubt.
The potential issue with the new contract is that it sets the bar at a certain level for other players on the roster, his linemates in particular. Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille both make close to $1.1 million under their current contracts and both players are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Campbell and Paille are players who see time on the penalty kill, which is a huge part of the game. The Bruins have two fourth-line players who can play two-way hockey and that is something that they value. If the Bruins plan on bringing one, or both, of those players back, they would have to look at Thornton’s contract as the level from which they must start negotiating.
There is enough cap space for the team to reach an agreement and reunite one of the most productive fourth lines in the NHL.