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Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli made some news on Friday, re-signing veteran winger and locker room leader Shawn Thornton to a new two-year contract that will pay the forward $812,500 per year and keep Thornton in Black and Gold through the 2011-12 season.
Now granted, that salary isn’t something many of us real world folk would turn down, but on the surface, $812,500 seems like a reasonably low salary for a professional athlete, right? Well, when you consider that Thornton made just over $500,000 each of the past three seasons, the reason for such a hefty raise simply escapes me.
Thornton’s contributions cannot be summarized on the stat sheet alone, as his one goal and nine assists this season would point to a pretty lackluster year by any account. But his value to the Bruins has to include the veteran presence and leadership he provides on and off the ice, along with his willingness to play physical and drop the gloves when necessary. That’s all well and good, but did his performance warrant a 60 percent raise over his previous salary?
Do I think a guy like Shawn Thornton still can provide value to an NHL team? I do. But do I also think a younger, cheaper option, like someone such as Brad Marchand, could do the same job with a smaller hit to the salary cap? I absolutely do.
Congratulations on your new deal, Shawn… here’s hoping you earn that raise over the next two seasons. In my opinion though, chalk this signing up along with the Andrew Ference and Tim Thomas deals, in the “overpaid veteran” category.