Sharks strip Joe Thornton of captaincy

It’s been a quiet past few weeks for the Sharks, but Wednesday’s developments opened up the floodgates.

Head coach Todd McLellan told the media today that as of now, no one on the Sharks is a captain or an assistant captain, meaning Joe Thornton has been stripped of his captaincy.

Thornton, who has been the captain since 2010, was a little surprised by the move. He told David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News:

“It’s a big honor, and it’s a big responsibility, so it’s a little strange when they take it away from you.”

McLellan hinted at going without a captain earlier this offseason, and it’s evident that the team is looking to change things up after their disappointing first round playoff exit to the Kings last season. McLellan insists that he has nothing against Thornton and Patrick Marleau, the assistant captain last season, and called on others to step up.

Considering that the Sharks want some of their younger stars to take over the helm, don’t be shocked if Joe Pavelski and/or Logan Couture are given letters before the season starts.

In a separate development, the Sharks will be without Raffi Torres for a large chunk of next season. General Manager Doug Wilson announced that Torres underwent surgery for an infection in his right knee — the same knee that he had surgery on before last season, forcing him to miss 77 games.

Said Wilson in a press release:

“We expect Raffi to return to the team during the 2014-15 season but no official timeline for his return is being set at this time.”

Torres had three goals and two assists in five games last season, and added three points in seven playoff games. This is a big setback for the Sharks, who need a healthy Torres and his high-energy play in the lineup. He has certainly paid dividends in his brief stint with the Sharks thus far, and this injury will leave the Sharks shorthanded for a while to start the year.

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