In the middle of Day 2 of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft frenzy, the San Jose Sharks made a trade with the Nashville Predators to pick up forward Luke Kunin in exchange for forward prospect John Leonard and a third-round pick in 2023.
The Sharks will need to re-sign Kunin before the start of the season. According to Cap Friendly, he is a pending restricted free agent, coming off a two-year, $2.3 million average annual value contract. Since Leonard is also a pending RFA and still unsigned, the Sharks must see an upside in Kunin.
Kunin is a 24-year-old, 6-foot tall, 197-pound center. While he is not a prolific scorer, with 93 points (46 goals, 47 points) in 251 NHL games, he does average approximately one point every three games. Kunin also brings a tough guy element to the team, with 207 career penalty minutes.
Maybe the Sharks think all Kunin needs is a change of scenery. Kunin was drafted in the first round (15th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild. He played three seasons in Minnesota and then the last two in Nashville after being traded for Nick Bonino and a couple of picks in October 2020. Last season was his most consistent yet, where he played all 82 games for the Predators, as well as all four playoff games.
Kunin dropped the gloves seven times last season, including this bout with former Sharks defender Jacob Middleton in March: