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Exit Interview: Labanc Talks Possibility of Trade



Credit: San Jose Sharks

Kevin Labanc had another disappointing season for the San Jose Sharks.

In fairness, it was also a very difficult year for Labanc off the ice, as his father Milan was put into a medically induced-coma over Thanksgiving. Milan is better now, and the bad news was coupled with good news, as Labanc and wife Kelly welcomed their first child, Eric, in January.

Labanc Has Had A Lot More on His Mind Than Hockey

On the ice, however, while Labanc collected 15 goals and 18 assists in 72 games, San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn expected more of the 27-year-old, and the bench boss frequently banished the Sharks’ third highest-paid forward to the bottom-six.

The $4.725 million AAV winger faces a lot of uncertainty this off-season, both with where he might play next season and entering the final year of his contract.

San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier did note that Labanc never made a trade request this season.

Here is what Labanc had to say during his Apr. 15 exit interview.

Labanc on his off-ice struggles this season:

I mean, life hits you in a funny way and at the weirdest time. I mean, being a father and then also my father going through his accident and him being in the hospital for three months, that wasn’t easy. So it’s not an easy thing to go through, but just some things just transcend above hockey, and that was one of them. Family’s everything. It’s hard to go through. You’re always standing there with them and staying strong.

Labanc on how he would assess his season:

Not great. I mean, highs and lows. I think for myself and the team, it just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough. That’s the hard part. I think that we just couldn’t really get momentum for ourselves and couldn’t really string a couple of games, but I think at the same time, playing these last 10 games, it wasn’t fun. I think everybody’s gonna go home and have a fire in their belly and make sure that we’re working hard so that first month of the season, we’re going to be going out and competing every single game to try and win and put ourselves in a good position.

Labanc on potential changes during the off-season:

I’m not even too sure. I think that’s up to Grier. That’s his job. So we’ll see, and it’s our job to play the game and get ready for camp.

Labanc on his place in the organization:

I don’t know what’s gonna happen. Trades happen around the Draft. So we’ll see. We’ll see where things go, and if I do get traded, then it’s been great in San Jose, but we’ll see. But right now, I don’t have any plans for that.

Labanc on if he expects a trade during the Draft:

I think it could happen to anybody. You just gotta work hard. For me, it’s just all about getting better in the summertime. Making sure that I’m getting ready and doing everything I can to get myself ready for the season.

Labanc on what he has to do to become more consistent next season:

I think that the summertime is just a good time for a mental reset. Go through video, and see what went wrong. What went right? I think at the end of the day, it just comes down to just all the time and effort, and work ethic that you put in during the offseason. Try and get a good start right from the get-go and hit the ground running.

Labanc on what went right this season:

I think when I was with Tommy and Timo, I think we were really playing well all together. Creating a lot of chances [and] playing hard, and then once you get separated, you kind of lose that chemistry a little bit, and it became a little bit harder. I think you just got to be able to play with anybody.

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