SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers coach Kevin Dineen was instrumental in the development of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Kostka, and Monday night he'll get to see first-hand how well his former player has developed.
The 27-year-old rookie has been one of the biggest revelations for the surprising Maple Leafs this season after spending the last four years in the American Hockey League. Recalled from the Toronto Marlies after the lockout, Kostka not only has stuck around after making his NHL debut in the Maple Leafs' season opener, he has impressed.
Kostka ranks second on the Maple Leafs in ice time behind only captain Dion Phaneuf at 24:16 per game, and leads the team in blocks with 31.
Dineen coached Kosta for two seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10) with the Portland Pirates of the AHL, and again during training camp and the 2011-12 preseason with the Panthers.