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Halttunen on Origin of Shot, Why He Went to London Knights

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

LAS VEGAS – Find something you love like Kasper Halttunen loves his shot.

“Definitely, that’s my No. 1 thing. That’s one thing that I have worked on since I was a little kid,” the San Jose Sharks’ 2023 second-round pick said. “I’ve always loved scoring goals. That’s my thing.”

They say do what you love, and Halttunen has done plenty of that.

Last year, for HIFK U20, the 17-year-old scored 18 goals in 18 games. This fall, he’s hoping to bring that type of offensive impact to the London Knights. And he’s doing it right now, hammering shot after shot for the San Jose Sharks at the Rookie Faceoff.

As for the origins of Halttunen’s howitzer? You might think it was from his father Niko Halttunen, who enjoyed a long professional career in Finland, Sweden, France, and even Pensacola, Florida.

“My dad wasn’t really a goal-scorer, he didn’t have the shot,” Halttunen smiled, when talking about his father, who did represent Finland at the 1995 World Junior Championships.

“That’s one thing that’s my own thing and I’ve learned it myself,” Halttunen said. “Just like shooting in my backyard, my summer cottage. Watching some like Patrik Laine shooting or players like that shooting. Watch the videos from YouTube, and then go to the backyard to shoot some pucks.

“As I grew up, I just loved watching Patrik Laine, Mikko Rantanen, and Auston Matthews because they have great shots.”

Of course, the hulking Finn knows that he has much to add to his game before he can join the likes of Laine and company in the NHL.

“I also have a big body,” the 6-foot-3 winger said. “I can use that and win battles, be a power forward.”

He also has to improve his beloved shot.

“It’s a pretty hard shot. Have to add a little accuracy there,” he said. “But I think I can shoot a lot from different situations, shoot it quick. No matter where the guys pass it to me, I can shoot it.”

Halttunen is going to a great place to work on his all-around game, under the watchful eye of the legendary Dale Hunter.

“When I got drafted to San Jose, they wanted me to go there. They said, of course, it’s your decision, but they wanted me to play there,” he said of his decision to leave HIFK and join the Knights. “[It] was a good decision to play a small rink game, and London is probably the best junior hockey place that you can go.”

It didn’t hurt that the San Jose Sharks inked him to an entry-level contract, the first 2023 Draft pick to get an ELC. Also, he should play a lot more for the Knights. Last season, he averaged just 9:24 a game when he played with the HIFK men’s team.

“If you play more, you develop more,” Halttunen said. “That was one thing why I wanted to go there.”

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