Sergei Kostitsyn last played in the NHL in 2012-13 during the lockout-shortened season, but, after two seasons in the KHL, he’s eying an NHL return for the upcoming season.
According to Sports.ru’s Igor Eronko, Kostitsyn is close to signing a contract that will bring him back to the NHL for the 2015-16 campaign. He hasn’t suited up for an NHL contest since the end of the 2012-13 season, in which he played 46 games for the Nashville Predators, scoring three goals and 15 points. For the past two years, Kostitsyn has been plying his trade in the KHL with Ak Bars Kazan.
In the past two campaigns in the KHL combined, Kostitsyn numbers aren’t world-beating totals by any means, but the former Montreal Canadien has been a steady producer. Over his 103 games in the primarily-Russian league since leaving the NHL, Kostitsyn has racked up 17 goals and 61 points.
This past season, Kostitsyn was a KHL all-star, scoring seven goals and 27 points in 49 contests. In the post-seaosn, however, Kostitsyn’s scoring dried up as he only managed one goal and three points in 12 games. He did find his scoring touch in time for the World Championship, though, as he went off for one goal and seven points in eight games at the tournament.
Kostitsyn was always more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, though. In only one NHL campaign did he score more than 20 goals – he notched 23 in 2010-11 with the Predators – and it took him four seasons to break into double digits in goal scoring. His two best seasons came with the Predators, when he notched the aforementioned 23 goals and 50 points in 2010-11 and another 17 goals and 43 points the following season.
The Belarussian star was somewhat of a late bloomer and didn’t make the jump to North American hockey until after his draft year. The Canadiens selected Kostitsyn in the seventh round, 200th overall, in 2005, and he joined the OHL’s London Knights for the following season. In his first year in the OHL, Kostitsyn scored 26 goals and 78 points and followed that up with a monster 40-goal, 131-point campaign in 2006-07.
Kostitsyn is the younger sibling of Andrei Kostitsyn, a former Montreal Canadiens first-round, 10th overall draft pick. The two played together in both Montreal and Nashville.