The San Jose Sharks have signed Luke Kunin to a two-year contract, according to PuckPedia. The deal will carry an average annual value of $2.75MM. Kunin was eligible for salary arbitration this summer but chose not to file. Sharks general manager Mike Grier also announced Monday afternoon that the team has signed goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to a two-year contract. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the deal carries a cap hit of $2.75MM.
Kunin, 24, was acquired from the Nashville Predators this offseason in exchange for John Leonard (who also signed today) and a third-round pick. The young forward has changed his game in recent years to lean into his physicality, and after racking up a whopping 223 in 2021-22, he offers something new to the San Jose bottom six.
There’s also a bit of offensive skill in the 2016 first-round pick, who has double-digit goals in each of his last three seasons, all of them coming at even-strength or while short-handed. That kind of scoring upside will come in handy as the Sharks start to tear apart the old core and rebuild it under new general manager Mike Grier.
Notably, it will leave Kunin as a restricted free agent at its expiry, giving the Sharks a chance to re-assess whether he can be a long-term solution. He will once again be up for arbitration at that point.
Kahkonen excelled after San Jose acquired him at the Trade Deadline from the Minnesota Wild. The 2020 AHL Goalie of the Year had just a 2-6-1 record, but that was no fault of his own, posting a more-than-respectable .916 save percentage in 11 games played (10 starts). Kahkonen has a career .908 save percentage through 65 NHL games, 54 of which came with the Wild. He’ll join a crowded crease in San Jose next year that also includes James Reimer and Adin Hill.
The 25-year-old Finn will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024 when his new contract expires.