Home > NHL > Nashville signs Kostitsyn: Problem or Gem?

Nashville signs Kostitsyn: Problem or Gem?


Photo Credit: CBC.ca

 

The day before free agency began; the Nashville Predators acquired restricted free agent Sergei Kostitsyn from the Montreal Canadiens for upcoming unrestricted free agents Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd.  The Preds decided to take a low-risk, high reward chance on the troubled Belarussian youngster by signing him to a one-year contract. A low scoring team to begin with and having traded steady veteran Jason Arnott, Kostitsyn will be given a chance to show his offensive skills.  And while those skills have not yet been proven at the NHL level, it is not his hockey skill that is in question. 

In only his third year in the league, Kostitsyn has managed to garner the reputation for being a prima donna. His problems were brought to the forefront at the beginning of the 09/10 season when he refused to report to Montreal’s AHL team, further problems erupted during the playoffs and he was sent away from the team. 

What I cannot explain is that I watched Sergei Kostitsyn play for my hometown London Knights for two seasons in which he played in almost all situations.  A talented offensive player with a definite edge to his game, I never heard of any attitude problems such as he has displayed in his few seasons in the NHL.  Perhaps this is why, after scoring 131 points in his last year of junior, he was only drafted in the 7th round, 200th overall. 

If Barry Trotz can bring out the skill and teach him to play defence and Kostitsyn himself can rein in his attitude, the Predators may just have themselves a gem. If not, this may be Sergei’s last chance. For his sake, I hope he makes the most of it.

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