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TBT: Joe Thornton in his early, beardless Bruins days

Joe Thornton has been a staple in the National Hockey League since he was drafted first overall by the Boston Bruins in 1997 -- but if you somehow haven't been keeping up with him since then, you probably wouldn't recognize him now.

Thornton came into the league fresh-faced and starry-eyed after two years in the Ontario Hockey League. He played with the Bruins until 2005, becoming the team's captain and a fan-favorite but never winning the Stanley Cup.

See Joe Thornton throughout his career:

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Joe Thornton through his career
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TBT: Joe Thornton in his early, beardless Bruins days
May 29, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) skates on the ice at practice during media day a day prior to game one of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Canadian hockey player Joe Thornton (center) sits between his parents at the 1997 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft, 1997. Thornton was chosen first overall by the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
Portrait of Canadian ice hockey player Joe Thornton, in the jersey of the Boston Bruins, following his first round, first place selection in the NHL Entry Draft at the Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 21, 1997. (Photo by Brian Winkler/Getty Images)
7 Feb 1999: Joe Thornton #6 of the Boston Bruins in action during the game against the New York Rangers at the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 3-2.
2002 Season: Joe Thornton. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
2004 Season: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers, November 22, 2003 And Player Joe Thornton. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
OTTAWA- AUGUST 19: Joe Thornton #97 of Team Canada poses for a portrait during camp at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario. August 19, 2004. (Photo By Dave Sandford/WCOH via getty Images)
San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton waits for the puck to drop versus the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY, December 02, 2005. San Jose defeated Buffalo 5 - 0. (Photo by Jerome Davis/NHLImages)
DENVER - DECEMBER 03: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 3, 2007 in Denver, Colorado. The Sharks defeated the Avalanche 3-2. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS - NOVEMBER 28: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks looks to grab the faceoff against Mike Ribeiro #63 of the Dallas Stars on November 28, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 17: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New York Islanders on October 17, 2009 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. Sharks defeat the Islanders 4-1 (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 30: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks reacts after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks and giving the Sharks the lead in the third on December 30, 2010 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA- NOVEMBER 3: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks and his family celebrate Thornton's NHL milestones of 1,000 games and 1,000 points during a ceremony before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at HP Pavilion on November 3, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 13: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks poses for his official headshot for the 2012-13 season on January 13, 2013 at Sharks Ice in San Jose, California. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 12: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks in a faceoff against the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center on December 12, 2013 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Image)
CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 6: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks looks up during a break in action against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on December 6, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 17 : Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks at a face off against Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on November 17, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 29: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks looks on from the bench during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 29, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 29: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks addresses the media during the NHL Stanley Cup Final Media Day at Consol Energy Center on May 29, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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The San Jose Sharks became Thornton's team when he was traded in 2005, and he has been a part of their roster ever since. Nowadays, Thornton -- featuring a playoff beard for the ages -- is playing in his first ever Stanley Cup Finals as the Sharks take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh currently leads the series 2-0.

Related: Hear what Joe Thornton has to say about his notorious beard:Joe Thornton on His Beard: 'It Looks Pretty, but It's Hard Work'

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