Bruins Set To Sign Nhl’s Top Draft Pick To Three-Year Deal

TUESDAY, AUG. 5, 1997

A month after Boston Bruins general manager Harry Sinden said he had received an “ominous” proposal from Joe Thornton’s agent, the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft agreed in principle to a three-year contract.

“Quite obviously,” Boston assistant general manager Mike O’Connell said Monday, “we’re thrilled that this process has ended with this agreement.”

The Bruins, who had the worst record in the NHL last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in 30 years, see Thornton as the cornerstone of their rebuilding project.

The 6-foot-4 center, who turned 18 on July 2, had 41 goals and 81 assists for the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League last season. He was the youngest member of the 1997 gold medal-winning Canadian World Junior team.

A rookie scale sets Thornton’s base salary at no more than $925,000. Incentives, however, were subject to negotiations.

Thornton is expected to sign the contract in Boston late this week, the Bruins said. Terms were not disclosed.

The Montreal Canadiens re-signed left wing Brian Savage to a one-year, $1 million contract, said his agent, Larry Kelly.

The team also signed defensemen Jassen Cullimore and Craig Rivet.

The Phoenix Coyotes signed free agent left wing Jeff Christian, 27, to a one-year contract.

The St. Louis Blues have re-signed center Pierre Turgeon, 27, to a one-year contract.

Former New York Islanders owner John Spano, already indicted on federal bank and wire fraud charges in New York, is being investigated for similar crimes by authorities in Dallas and Boston, people familiar with the case said.

Click here to comment on this story »

Back to Spokesman Mobile