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Preview/Lines #60: Kunin Wants To Stay With Sharks, ‘Turn This Thing Around’



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Would Luke Kunin want to stay if Mike Grier and the San Jose Sharks offered him a contract extension?

“I want to be here,” the 26-year-old forward told San Jose Hockey Now. “I want to be where I’m wanted, and I want to turn this thing around.”

However, Kunin mentioned that he hasn’t discussed a contract extension with either the Sharks directly or his agent. While Kunin is a pending restricted free agent, his eight goals and 12 points in 54 games this season may not be worth the $3-million qualifying offer he would be due this off-season.

Points or not though, Kunin is physical, kills penalties, and is considered a “plays the right way” winger, which makes him a Trade Deadline target, an asset to a playoff team. Accordingly, Elliotte Friedman said that the Edmonton Oilers are interested.

REPORT: Oilers Interested in Kunin? ‘Few Teams’ Looking at Granlund

“I think that’ll all play itself out with whatever happens,” Kunin said of the Mar. 8 Deadline. “It’s not something I worry about too much. I just come every day, work and prepare the same way. That’s outside of my control.”

“That’s one of the reasons he’s had such success in his career, dating back to when he was at the national program, Wisconsin. On top of being a good player, he brings all these other intangibles that you’re looking for,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said of the 2016 Minnesota Wild first-round pick this morning.

Quinn has put his money where his mouth is, selecting Kunin, along with Mikael Granlund, as alternate captains in the absences of captain Logan Couture and alternate captain Tomas Hertl.

“He’s always been a guy that’s so well-respected wherever he’s played. This is no different here,” Quinn said. “He’s a guy that we lean on from a coaching stuff standpoint, these guys respect him. He certainly earned it.”

Sharks Locker Room: Chrona Earns Measure of Redemption

Kunin is playing some of his best hockey at the right time.

“You can see a jump the last three games, he’s skating more, he’s more involved,” Quinn said. “He’s been battling some injuries which have slowed him down just a little bit, but you can see that he’s feeling better physically, which in turn, he feels better mentally. He’s just been playing a much, much more complete game.”

San Jose Sharks (15-38-6)

Kaapo Kahkonen plays his first-ever game against his former team.

Otherwise, the Sharks will run the same 11 forward-7 defensemen line-up from yesterday.

Minnesota Wild (28-27-6)

This is how the Wild lined up yesterday, in a loss:

Where to Watch

Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild is 4 PM PT at Xcel Energy Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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