This is a low-risk, high-reward move for Nashville. Both Boyd and Ellis were going to be unrestricted free agents in a day and a half and the Preds weren’t going to be able to bring either of them back. Coming back to Nashville, Kostitsyn is a restricted free agent (see Preds RFA list). At just 23 years old, he’s already dressed in three NHL seasons plus an Olympics tournament. He has the raw skills to play in a scoring line role in the NHL; the Predators hope he can realize that potential next season in Nashville.
The trade will also give Kostitsyn a chance to break out of his brother’s shadow. In Montreal he was always linked to his older brother, Andrei, the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Andrei has scored 64 goals over the last three seasons for Montreal, including a career-high of 26 in ’07-08. Many scouts feel Sergei has similar potential as Andrei, but just hasn’t had that breakthrough. Sergei’s shown flashes, though – like his four point game in the Olympics or his three game stretch in March when he posted four goals (two game-winners) and five points during the heart of Montreal’s push to get into the playoffs.
“Sergei’s a young player and he’s got a lot of potential,” Predators GM David Poile said. “He probably hasn’t lived up to his expectations – or everybody’s expectations of him – yet. But, he is a player that has a tremendous amount of upside.”
The Predators have several solid two-way forward prospects, but in Kostitsyn the Preds have added a prospect with a dynamic “wow” element to his game who is capable of stepping in to the NHL and contributing now … without losing any players from the current roster or sacrificing any of the organization’s deep pool of prospects.
“This is a trade that if it all works out and is a good fit, this can be a big upside for us,” said Poile. “Having said that, I want to talk to him directly and talk to his agent to make sure this is a fit for the Predators and for him before we go forward on a contract discussion.”