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Once the 2018-19 season concluded, each Barracuda player returned back to his hometown or offseason hangout. Moving forward, each week, sjbarracuda.com will check in with a different Barracuda player and see what he is up to this summer. This week we catch up with Maxim Letunov.
Since the season came to an end, what have you been up to lately? It was my first pro season, and it was a long one. A lot of games, a lot of traveling, so it was kind of an adjustment from college. Being off right now in the summer is huge, you know, it’s allowing me to recharge the batteries and now I know what I have to do in the summer to be ready for next season, for the grind and the travel and all of the games. But as far as what I've been up to, I’ve just been working out in the morning and skating almost right after. Then I have the whole day off after that to relax, be by the pool or do some fun activities.
You mentioned it, but would you say the travel, length of season and number of games the biggest adjustment in year one? Yes, definitely, that’s one of the main transitions when you come from college. Coming off the summer you’re feeling strong but you’ve got to continue to work on the little things off the ice and maintain your strength. Just knowing your body is key to performing every night throughout the season, not just parts of it.
Does it give you a lot more confidence going into your second year now that you know what the AHL is all about? Yes, absolutely. It’s much easier knowing what to expect from other teams. I have experienced it now and I know what I have to do personally to be successful. It’s huge spending the summer knowing what to expect and what I need to improve on.
You’re spending the summer in Montreal, are there any other pro players you're training with? Yes, one of the big names training out here is Kris Letang. Another guy would be Nicolas Deslauriers, who used to play in Montreal but was just traded to Anaheim. There's a couple of other AHL guys too. Some of the guys are older and you see how they prepare for their seasons and you take a lot from it.
What is the biggest part of your game that you wanted to improve on going into this offseason? I worked on it last summer too but adding speed to my game. That’s always something you want to improve and it's huge right now in today’s game. You’ve got to be able to do things at a high speed and that’s what I’ve been trying to do this summer on the ice. And in the weight room you always want to get strong. In my case, I want to add a little more weight so I can play hard in the corners and be able to go wide and get to the net and not be pushed off. So those are a few little things but you always want to improve on your shot and your overall skill set.
You’re spending the summer in Montreal, so what are you doing away from hockey training this summer to have fun? I don’t have much in terms of a vacation, so little things like going to the movie or mini-golf or normal golf. Stuff like that. Hanging at the pool, too. They have a nice amusement park here so I’m going to put that on my to-do-list. But besides that, just work hard in the day and enjoy the weather by the pool in the afternoon.
Having spent the last two summers in Quebec, have you picked up any French? (Laughs) Yeah, everyone speaks English for the most part, but when they do speak French I do understand it sometimes when I hear a familiar word and can kind-of understand what is going on. I'm not fluent yet but maybe I’ll take some classes (laughs) so I can get a little better.
You signed a one-year extension a few weeks back, knowing you’ll be back in teal has got to be a good feeling, right? Absolutely! Knowing the Sharks wanted me to be there was a great feeling and huge for me. It only increases my confidence. Now that stress is gone and I can focus on year two within the organization.
You lived with Dylan Gambrell last year in San Jose. He also signed an extension this offseason so are you planning on being roommates again next year? (Laughs) Yeah, we had good chemistry last year so we’re going to stick to that same plan and continue to live together.
When are you planning on coming back to the Bay Area for training camp? I’ll probably come back at the end of August so I can get situated. I did the same thing last year. That way I can adjust to the weather, see some of the guys and be able to settle in.