Asked if the Sharks, who missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2003 after finishing 40–33–9 with 89 points, need a coaching change, Thornton passed up the opportunity to support McLellan.
"I have no idea," Thornton said when asked if a coaching change was needed. "Todd has to talk to his family. Maybe he should talk to this family as well in here. We'll see what happens."
Neither McLellan nor the team has said if the seven-year coach will return next season.
Last month, Thornton was critical of general manager Doug Wilson after Wilson explained Thornton was stripped of his captaincy because "the pressure and stress ... was getting to Joe." Thornton responded, "I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth."
On Wednesday, Thornton was also asked where an improvement in the Sharks' culture could be made.
"Everywhere," he said. "It comes from the coaches, and they bring it down to us. It comes from everywhere."
Thornton, 35, has been with the Sharks since the 2005–2006 season, when he was traded by the Boston Bruins. Boston drafted Thornton first overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
This season, Thornton finished third on the Sharks with 65 points in 78 games. He also led the team with 49 assists.
- Mike Fiammetta