The San Jose Sharks were no doubt excited to get Kevin Labanc under contract last week when he agreed to one-year, $1-million deal.
At the same time, fans were dumbfounded. It felt like we had read it all wrong… it couldn’t be just for $1-million… Labanc was said to be a very desirable offer sheet candidate. Rival teams were ready to pounce on him as the 23-year-old established himself as a middle-six forward, who put up two impressive seasons in San Jose.
Then, we started to put two and two together: Labanc was convinced to accept a $1-million deal in part to save money for Joe Thornton.
There is no other way.
However, Thornton may not get the contract he wants to return for another season.
Thornton may hang up the skates, even if revealed at the NHL Awards he was ready to play for another five seasons. He wants to stay in San Jose, but on July 16th, we have no deal in place…
Last year, the 40-year-old cashed in $5 million for the season… are the Sharks ready to offer as much? Will Jumbo Joe agree for less?
And above everything else: will Labanc regret his decision to take a discount deal for Jumbo Joe?
To be continued…