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Thornton and Marleau sign three-year extensions with Sharks

Jan 18, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers (5), center Patrick Marleau (12) and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (4
Jan 18, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers (5), center Patrick Marleau (12) and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (4

(Reuters) - The San Jose Sharks locked up two of their top players on Friday when former All-Star forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau signed three-year contract extensions with the National Hockey League (NHL) team.

No financial details were disclosed by the club for the extensions, which will begin on July 1 this year after the current deals expire, but local media reported the deals would average $6.75 million annually for Thornton and $6.66 million for Marleau.

San Jose captain Thornton and Marleau, the franchise's all-time leading goal-scorer, were the top two picks in the 1997 NHL draft, Thornton being selected by the Boston Bruins and Marleau by the Sharks.

Since Thornton's trade to San Jose in November 2005, the Sharks have accumulated the most points and wins in the league, though the team has not yet reached the Stanley Cup finals.

"Patrick and Joe continue to perform at an elite level in the National Hockey League and, most importantly, they make the other players around them better," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement.

"They both made it very clear that they wanted to stay in San Jose and we were able to agree on contracts that fit with our team building philosophy."

Six-time All-Star Thornton ranks joint 11th among active playoff scorers with 22 goals and 75 assists while Marleau, a three-time All-Star, ranks 13th (57 goals and 39 assists).

Both players are aged 34 and won gold medals with Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Marleau also will be a member of the Canadian squad for next month's Sochi Games.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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