Kostitsyn was drafted 10th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2003. He was invited to training camp in 2004 and was assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs before being called up to the big league halfway through the 2005-2006 season.
By the 2007-2008 season, Kostitsyn had broken out in a big way in the NHL. Playing alongside Tomas Plekanec and Alexei Kovalev, he scored 53 points in 78 games. His younger brother Sergei was even called up to join him on the Habs.
After several good years with the Canadiens, Kostitsyn was traded to the Nashville Predators. He spent just 19 games there before a suspension for breaking curfew put him in the doghouse with management. The Predators didn’t renew his contract and it was off to the KHL for Kostitsyn, where he signed with Traktor Chelyabinsk initially.
Now with HC Sochi, Kostitsyn has been slowly picking up his game. And now he wants to return to the NHL.
There are teams interested in his services, too, which means we could be seeing him back by next season. Word around the campfire is that he’s already engaged some clubs in preliminary talks for a one year contract to get the ball rolling.
In 50 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk and HC Sochi this season, Kostitsyn had 13 goals and a total of 35 points.
At the NHL level, he was usually good for around 20 goals a season. Things began to taper off toward the end of his career in North America, but there’s likely still a lot of gas in the tank. Kostitsyn had 11 goals in 37 games for HC Sochi and that’s a good sign. Plus at his age, there’s still plenty of time for a resurgence if an NHL team wants to roll the dice.
Of course, there are the behavioural matters to consider. Questions of commitment and camaraderie may come into play if Kostitsyn’s not a team player. To that end, one has to imagine the Predators as not being overly interested in his services.