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Halttunen on ‘Yelling’ When Sharks Drafted Dickinson, Possibly Joining Barracuda

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As John McCarthy put it, “everybody knows” that San Jose Sharks prospect Kasper Halttunen can score.

The 19-year-old, in his debut season with the London Knights, scored 32 goals and 61 points in 57 games. He put the exclamation point on his season with 17 goals and 26 points in 18 games during the OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup.

As a European-drafted prospect, Halttunen is eligible for the AHL as a 19-year-old. The winger, according to San Jose Barracuda head coach John McCarthy, will need to continue improving and developing “pro habits” to make the jump to the AHL this season.

The 2023 second-rounder does not yet know yet whether he will play for the Barracuda or Knights next season.

In his media availability on the first day of San Jose Sharks’ development camp, Halttunen explains the story of watching the Sharks draft his London teammate Sam Dickinson from Finland, how he found scoring success in his North American debut, and Finnish prospect Emil Hemming saying he had a better shot than Halttunen.

San Jose Barracuda head coach John McCarthy also shared what Halttunen has to improve to crack the Cuda line-up.

Halttunen, on the San Jose Sharks drafting teammate Sam Dickinson at No. 11:

I was actually watching the draft at 3:30 a.m. in Finland and I was pumped when they picked him. I wasn’t expecting him to be [available] there, but I’m really happy that we picked him and happy that he’s here…

I think I jumped off the couch and just started yelling. I was really pumped for that.

Halttunen, on what he improved throughout his first North American season:

The overall game, how to get comfortable with the small ice. That was a big thing for me this year. At the end, I think I was pretty comfortable with smaller ice. Got comfortable with everything, like wall-work and all those things that you don’t need that much in Europe.

Halttunen, on his hot streak in the OHL playoffs:

I got comfortable with the smaller ice and the North American game as the season went on. In the playoffs, I think I can put a little more effort in and get a little better every game. I think I did pretty good job with that.

Halttunen, on being a player who excels in big games in the future:

I think I did a pretty good job with that this year. I love to win. That’s my biggest goal in hockey, to lift the Stanley Cup someday. So when the big games come, I always step up a little bit.

Halttunen, on his decision to play in the OHL last season over Finland:

I’m really happy with that decision. I think that was the right decision for me 100%.Thankful for London to give me that opportunity. I’m thankful for the Sharks that they helped me to go there.

McCarthy, on what Halttunen must improve to make the AHL:

Off-puck play… He has a big shot. Everybody knows he can score. He’s a big body too. So, off-puck play, working above pucks, pro habits versus junior habits.

I think that’s the biggest thing, same as a lot of other people coming out of junior. You’re able to get away with a lot more in junior, whereas the game is a little bit tighter at our level. So, advancing his game that way.

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