More of the newest San Jose Sharks said hello today.
On Jul. 1, the first day of free agency, free agent signings Kyle Burroughs, Givani Smith, and Ryan Carpenter spoke.
Today, Anthony Duclair and Mackenzie Blackwood jumped on Zoom to introduce themselves. Fabian Zetterlund, recently re-signed to a two-year, $2.9 million deal, also talked.
Duclair was acquired on Jul. 1 in a trade with the Florida Panthers for Steven Lorentz and a 2025 fifth-round pick, and Blackwood was acquired before the Draft in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Duclair talked about his friendship with Joe Thornton, the Duclair Foundation, and the Hockey Diversity Alliance’s plans this summer. Blackwood shared what he’s doing to combat the soft-tissue injuries that he’s battled over the last two years and if he was concerned when the Sharks didn’t qualify him. Zetterlund got into his struggles for the San Jose Sharks after he came over in the Timo Meier trade and shared details on how Erik Karlsson has mentored him.
Anthony Duclair, on playing for Mike Grier:
Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s an honor for me. I grew up watching Mike play, someone who I look up to. Him being the first black GM in [NHL] history, me coming in to play for me with [Givani Smith] at the same time, it’s really an awesome feeling.
Duclair, on who he knows well from the San Jose Sharks:
Smitty, I know Vlasic from the Quebec Remparts connection. Then obviously, Jumbo. I spoke to him yesterday, his birthday.
Duclair, on what Joe Thornton had to say about San Jose:
A lot. He had a lot to say. On-ice, off-ice, living-wise, and stuff like that. He’s gonna take me under his wing, he says, so I’m really looking forward to it.
He just kept praising how much he loved it and how much I’m gonna love it. It’s a great place to play. Great fans. I know for an opposing player, the Shark Tank [can] be as loud as anyone in the league.
He praised the management and coaching staff [a lot]. I know he was around the team last year and just looking forward to meeting everyone and getting acclimated.
Duclair, on his plans for the Duclair Foundation in San Jose:
I want to thank the Panthers organization, for putting so much trust and believing in me and my foundation. They’ve obviously done so much for it, just in year one. Last week, I finished my first camp here for kids, at the Ice Den in Florida. We had about 30 kids, they absolutely loved it. It was a week-long camp.
Myself and Boko Imama, we’re doing actually another camp in Montreal next week, in my hometown. We’re looking to get 60 kids, I think there’s 60 kids confirmed.
It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for years. Now that I’m in San Jose, I’m looking forward to grow the game over there.
Hopefully, build a hockey camp out there.
Duclair, on Hockey Diversity Alliance’s plans this summer:
We’re launching the “Black Ice” film in July. I haven’t seen it since the premiere last year. I’m looking forward to that.
I think the HDA has been doing a great job, especially Akim Aliu’s been doing an unbelievable job, especially in Toronto, growing the game, building camps. On-ice or ball hockey, just introducing the game to communities and demographics that don’t really know anything about the game. We’ve done a lot of good stuff in Toronto. We’re definitely planning out to reach out all over Canada, and obviously, throughout the US. We’re still in the early stages.
A lot of work to be done.
Duclair, on if he was surprised to get traded:
Yeah, I definitely heard my name [in trade rumors] a few times. Even off the end-of-year meeting, I knew that Florida was gonna make some moves. Especially how the year went and making it to the Final.
Mackenzie Blackwood, on a fresh start after back-to-back injury-plagued seasons:
I’m really excited. A fresh start will be great.
Last couple of years didn’t go the way I wanted with injuries and getting my game back on track, but there were some good moments. It just kept getting derailed by some injuries or some unfortunate situations. But I’m healthy now.
Blackwood, on if doing yoga and pilates has helped in terms of preventing future soft-tissue injuries:
Yeah, for sure. I can already tell, I’ve been doing it for months now into this off-season, and I feel good, I feel great. I think it’s gonna go a long way long-term for me. So I’m just excited to try and switch things up a little bit here and trying to help with the longevity and the flexibility and stuff like that.
Blackwood says he played with Labanc and Givani Smith in Barrie. Obviously connected with Grier, Zetterlund, Okhotiuk in New Jersey.
Very excited to be with an organization that clearly believes in him
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) July 3, 2023
Blackwood, on if he expected to get moved:
I kind of saw the writing on the wall there my last season.
It was kind of time for a change, and they felt the same way. I kind of figured something was gonna happen. I didn’t know exactly where, when, or what.
Blackwood, on his thoughts when the San Jose Sharks didn’t qualify him:
I was talking with my agent and they were in constant communication. We kind of had something in place. I knew that there was something there, for sure.
Fabian Zetterlund, on the San Jose Sharks acquiring old teammate MacKenzie Blackwood:
I was happy when I saw that. He was a good friend in Jersey. He was my neighboring locker. He’s a good goalie. He’s huge, he’s hard to score on. And off the ice, he’s a funny guy. Always a smile on his face. Just wants to joke around with the guys. But when the puck drops, he’s always dialed in.
Zetterlund, on how Erik Karlsson has mentored him:
I got close with Erik. It would be funny if he will be staying in San Jose. He helped me a lot last year.
Something’s probably gonna happen, but no one knows.
He took me to dinner a couple times on the road. He was a good mentor for me.
Zetterlund, on how hard it was to be traded for the first time:
It was my first trade. I’m still pretty young. Everything was new, coming into a new rink, meeting new people, it was little bit hard.
Zetterlund, on putting extra pressure on himself to produce when he joined the San Jose Sharks:
I felt like I wanted to produce more and show almost every shift I could do something.
You [should] kind of relax and just play your game. That’s not my game, to play in a hurry. I just want to put down my shoulders and just to play hockey and go play my style. When I’m doing that, I’m a pretty good hockey player. I’m just gonna find myself and just play hockey.
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