There’s always that one wild card player in every NHL Draft. I’m going to say that Klim Kostin is the one for me this year. From top-to-bottom, the kid seethes skill and power, but scouts never got to see it this year due to injury that led to surgery — this hurt his draft stock.
Kostin is still ranked as the number one European prospect by the NHL CSS, and I’d say that’s probably still true. While the thought of drafting him now may not sound as “sexy” as you want a top-10 pick to sound, if he hits his stride in potential, he’s going to be an absolute pain-in-the-ass to play against one day.
Name: Klim Kostin
Date of birth: 5/5/99 (17 years old)
Birthplace: Penza, Russia
Weight: 195 lbs.
NHL comparable: Matt Hoffman
ISS Hockey: 12
McKeen’s Hockey: 22
Future Considerations: 14
NHL CSS: 1 (European skaters)
Kostin has a heap of underrated talent that was overshadowed by a difficult injury-laden Draft season. He went under the knife back in February and has made a full recovery, but at the cost of his draft stock. What you have here is a power-forward with exceptional playmaking skills. He’s not the fastest skater, but Kostin has proven to be strong on his skates in that when he has the puck, good luck getting it off of him. If you watch some of his tape, you’ll notice that he goes for the net. Kostin will pick up dirty goals off of rebounds, or dazzle you with his finishing ability.
Now, there are some concerns. Obviously health is one, but Kostin decided to stay in Russia after being drafted by the Kootenay Ice in the CHL Import Draft. He’s certainly not the first player to do this, but “The Russian Factor” is a real thing in the eyes of many old school scouts. Looking past that (which I have no problem doing), Klim Kostin is a top-ten talent if he can build off what he did during his captaincy with Team Russia in the Hlinka Memorial. The talent is there — and he’ll have a chance to boom or bust next season, presumably in the KHL.
Another knock that Kostin has is his defensive tendencies. But, as we all know here in Detroit, every single young player has that issue. So, I’m not even going to dive into that right now.
Credit: NHL Prospects YouTube
Credit: Pete Krupsky (Kostin scores GWG at 2:00 of the video)
Size, power, and raw offensive skill. All attributes the Red Wings need, want, and are looking for. Klim Kostin, in my mind, has the potential to be a fantastic top-six winger in the NHL some day. But like most prospects in this Draft, it’s going to take some time for his skills to develop. What’s key with these types of players is the team involvement with his development, no matter if he’s in the CHL, KHL, MHL, or playing ice hockey on the Moon. The Wings have always been very hands-on with developing their junior prospects. Taking Kostin at 9th overall may be a reach for most, but if he hits his potential, any team taking a shot on him will look like a gaggle of geniuses.