Thornton dished out an assist in a 6-5 overtime loss to Florida on Wednesday.
Despite the less-than-desirable outcome, Jumbo Joe continued his run of improved play with his fifth point in his last four games. While he's well off the pace of last year's whopping 82-point showing, Thornton has improved his play with 12 points across his last 15 contests, so owners that had been largely disappointed with his early results have some reason for optimism in season's final two months.
The big veteran was instrumental in beating the Kings, grabbing the primary apple on Brent Burns' first-period tally before setting up Joe Pavelski's power-play marker in the second. With just 29 points in 45 games, however, Jumbo Joe has taken a significant step back from last year's 82-point effort, and it seems unlikely at this point that he'll be able to get back to his formerly typical point-per-game production by season's end.
Thornton has just one point in six games since the calendar flipped to 2017.
Jumbo Joe's decrease in productivity isn't limited to the new year, as his 26 points in 43 games are way off last season's eye-popping 82-point effort. It's not tremendously surprising considering his age (37), as well as the fact that he had a shortened offseason thanks to a deep playoff run that ended a couple wins short of Lord Stanley's prize in June, but that doesn't lessen the blow for owners that selected him early in drafts last fall. That said, it's interesting to note that he's actually averaged more ice time than last year (18:37 vs. 18:22 in 2015-16), but over a minute less on the power play (3:35 vs. 4:38), which has reduced his scoring opportunities.
The 37-year-old only has two scores this season, but he now has 20 assists, which moves Thornton into a tie for 12th in the NHL. He has nine assists in nine games this month; that's a nice way to respond after failing to record a point in the final five games of November.
Thornton set up two goals in Saturday's win over the Hurricanes.
That's five helpers in the past four games for Thornton, who is up to 18 points in 28 games. He isn't tearing it up in terms of offensive production this season, especially given his lackluster two goals, but he's steadily dishing out assists and contributing on the power play. The Sharks are one of the top teams in the Western Conference and Thornton's steady production makes him worth owning in most leagues.