Newly-acquired San Jose Sharks forward Luke Kunin spoke to the media on Monday afternoon. The Sharks picked him up in a Draft day trade with the Nashville Predators that saw John Leonard and a 2023 third-round pick head to Nashville.
Kunin mentioned that he is excited to be joining the Sharks organization, especially following his call with GM Mike Grier following the trade, a call that took place while Kunin was on vacation in Greece.
“I had a great chat with Mike and it was very refreshing and very exciting about the future and my role and everything,” the 6-foot-0 winger said. “What he’s going to do with this organization is very exciting for me and I couldn’t be happier to play for a guy like that.”
Having appeared in all 82 regular-season games for the Predators in the 2021-22 season, Kunin contributed 13 goals and nine assists. However, the season before, Kunin picked up 10 goals and nine assists in just 38 appearances, suggesting he has more scoring potential than he displayed this past year. He knows it, and is looking forward to prove it in the upcoming year, his fifth in the NHL.
“Last year the production wasn’t where I wanted it, and you know, there’s nothing I can do about that now. I’m just focused and driven to have a better year and a better production year,” the 2016 Minnesota Wild first-round pick said. “I like the plan that we have set in place for myself to do that. So I’m looking forward to next season.”
Kunin also mentioned that he sees himself as a versatile player who can play anywhere in the lineup, saying he can be a good leader on the team and echoed the phrase that has been used when talking about how Grier is going to run the team, doings things “the right way.”
One thing that Kunin mentions that he is bringing in his game from Nashville is the physicality of his play, and it seems to fall in line with what Grier has said he wants more of on the San Jose Sharks roster — not necessarily physicality, but competitiveness.
Grier: "It all starts with competitiveness. And that doesn't always have to mean that they're the biggest guy in the room, but it's got to be a high level of competitiveness and hardness…you'll probably start to see a little bit more of that coming to the organization."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) July 11, 2022
“A lot of teams were saying that after we played some good games that there was no space out there and it was fast, it was hard, we were in your face, and I think that’s kind of my style of hockey,” Kunin shared of his time in Nashville. “A lot of energy, high pace physicality but also being able to play and make plays and produce. Yeah, I’m excited to bring that element here.”
The transition to the San Jose Sharks will be a new experience for Kunin, who says he doesn’t really know anybody on the Sharks roster other than through mutual friends.
However he’s been a community guy throughout his time in Nashville, specifically through the Luke Kunin T1D Fund. He will undoubtedly have plenty of opportunity to ingrain himself to this team and the San Jose community during his time with the Sharks.
Proud to announce the launch of the Luke Kunin T1D Fund w/ all proceeds benefiting @jdrfhq . I’ve been living with Type 1 Diabetes since I was 12, & to help fund research & support those impacted by T1D means so much to me. If you’d like to donate please click the link in my bio. pic.twitter.com/9UIwmrmXu7
— Luke Kunin (@lukekunin9) November 14, 2021
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.