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REACTION: Sharks Acquire Kunin for Leonard, Pick



Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

MONTREAL — The San Jose Sharks have traded for Luke Kunin, sending the rights to pending RFA John Leonard and a 2023 third-round pick to the Nashville Predators

Kunin is 6-foot-0 forward who can play in all situations. The 24-year-old averaged 0.2 Goals Per Game over the last three seasons, scoring 13 for the Predators last season.

Funny enough, 2016 Minnesota Wild first-round pick Kunin was the return in the Oct. 2020 trade that saw Nick Bonino go from Nashville to the Minnesota Wild. Bonino is now with the San Jose Sharks. Kunin is also noteworthy for fighting Jake Middleton last season when the defenseman was still with the Sharks.

“I like the identity of the player,” an NHL scout told San Jose Hockey Now. “Hard-working, third-line role player for me. Competitive and gritty. Complimentary winger.”

Kunin is an RFA, so we’ll see how his new contract shakes out. But he appears to be a solid add to the San Jose Sharks’ third line, a likely improvement over their bottom-six forward group last year. He’s not a big name and may not have the upside of a Leonard, but Kunin is young and perhaps plays the style of game that new Sharks GM Mike Grier wants to add to the Sharks.

“Tenacious, highly competitive, in-your-face, fast, hard to play against.” That’s what Grier said he wants of his Sharks.

“Spot on. Kunin brings it every night,” the same scout said when I asked him how Kunin fits that Grier vision of the Sharks.

Leonard, 23, is a talented winger who has yet to establish himself in the NHL. It appears that he had fallen out of the San Jose Sharks’ plans, so they turned him and a future third into a solid playoff-caliber bottom-six forward.

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