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Mike McKenna Thinks Kahkonen Needs ‘Complete Structural Rebuild’

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mike McKenna isn’t excited about the immediate future of San Jose Sharks goaltending.

Not that anybody should blame the veteran goalie turned Daily Faceoff columnist.

James Reimer has an .895 Save %, 33rd of 43 goalies who have appeared in 20-or-more games. Kaapo Kahkonen has an .880, third-worst in the NHL.

Digging deeper with Evolving Hockey, Reimer’s -7.01 Goals Saved Above Expected is 36th and Kahkonen’s -16.54 is again third-worst.

Kahkonen, at least, might be turning a corner, with a 3-2-0 record and a .912 Save % in the Sharks’ just-concluded eight-game road trip. Those three victories came over impressive opposition in the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Washington Capitals.

The 26-year-old Finn, acquired with a 2022 fifth-round pick from the Minnesota Wild last Trade Deadline for Jake Middleton, struggled mightily at the beginning of the season, so much so that by mid-December, he was purportedly making serious alterations to his game.

“I think asking him to make some additions to the way he plays sometimes takes a little longer for goalies than others,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said then.

“Just a lot of different movements in the crease and focus on beating plays on my feet and being in control and very basic and boring,” Kahkonen shared with San Jose Hockey Now.

Preview/Lines #33: In Week Off, What Adjustments Has Kahkonen Made?

Kahkonen’s problems did not surprise McKenna, who I spoke with before the All-Star break about the state of the San Jose Sharks’ netminding.

The 14-year pro goalie touched on the “complete structural rebuild” that Kahkonen needs, Reimer’s trade value, why the Sharks’ struggle could be a blessing in disguise for Kahkonen, and candid thoughts on Adin Hill, Evgeni Nabokov, and Peter DeBoer.

Read the Full Interview at NBC Sports Bay Area

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