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Exit Interview: Kunin on Track for Camp, Grier’s Review of His Year

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks were hoping that Luke Kunin would add grit, scoring, and compete when they traded for and signed him to a two-year contract in July.

But a torn ACL, suffered in mid-December, ended the winger’s season prematurely.

VIDEO: Kunin Out for Year, Quinn & Hertl Talk About His ACL Surgery

Kunin is expected to make a full recovery though, and should be ready for training camp this September.

In his 31 games, Kunin provided a physical spark, shot blocking, and top-notch penalty killing. His five goals and eight assists extrapolate to 13 goals and 34 points over an 82-game season, pretty solid third-line numbers.

Kunin talked about San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier’s assessment of his play this season and his work with the Luke Kunin T1D Fund.

Kunin, provides an update on his rehab:

Rehab is going really well, right on track for what we want. It’s a long process. Just trying to stay as positive and up as I can. But so far, so good.

Kunin, on what his experience has been like watching the San Jose Sharks season from afar:

It’s never easy. I mean, we all want to play. It’s not easy to watch hockey games, especially when you’re losing too. You want to be out there and help. Mentally, it’s tough. I think that’s just as hard as the physical part of this kind of injury, but my head is in a good spot. I’m feeling good and excited for next year.

Kunin, on what he thinks the Sharks need to improve on the most:

I don’t try to focus too much on that. Management and coaches, I think they have a good plan in place. I just try to focus on me getting healthy and what I can do and what I can bring to the team and, hopefully, be a big part and help out.

Kunin, on if he gave San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier what Grier “paid for”:

Yeah, I think so. Obviously, it was short little time, I think 31 games, but just trying to compete and bring that energy and different elements that I don’t think we have too much of. As far as my style of game to this team, I think I did that when I was playing.

We had a good chat right after the injury, what he liked and what to do moving forward.

Kunin, on what Grier liked about his game this year:

I think everything he thought he was getting, he saw that. Just want to keep growing and keep helping turn it around.

Kunin, on what advice he might have to the younger Sharks who are struggling with consistency of compete:

I think that’s it. Consistency. I think that’s one of the biggest things to play in this league and to play for a long time. You see all these guys that do it for so long. They’re just consistent. Just the way they go about their business every day, just doing the right things. Never taking a day off. The highs and lows throughout the season, just trying to be as even keel as you can through those highs and lows.

We do have a lot of young guys. I think as the season went on, more young guys were coming up, so I wasn’t really a part of that too much but just trying to help in any way I can. Just show them the ropes of what it means to be a pro and do things the right way. I think that’s a big thing for me to help with this organization.

Kunin, on his time in San Jose:

It’s been great. I love it here. Love the organization. Love my teammates. Obviously, an unfortunate year with how everything went. Fans are great. The community is great. and looking forward to being more a part of it next year.

Kunin, on his work for the Luke Kunin T1D Fund, which benefits the JDRF, “the leading global organization harnessing the power of research, advocacy, and community engagement to advance life-changing breakthroughs for type 1 diabetes (T1D)”:

Yeah, it was great. It’s always fun to talk to the kids and families and everything after the game. It’s such an easy thing for you to do that I think goes a long way. Like I’ve talked about before, if I didn’t have that at such a young age, I don’t think I’d be standing up here. So it’s something near and dear to my heart, pretty special, and really happy to do it.

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