Getting to know Klim Kostin, the newest Edmonton Oiler
Photo credit:© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 year ago
The Edmonton Oilers made a pre-season trade on Sunday, sending Dmitri Samorukov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Klim Kostin.
Kostin and Samorukov are a pair of prospects who are very familiar with each other. They were the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks respectively in the 2016 CHL Import Draft and they both suited up for Russia at the 2018 and 2019 World Juniors.
Samorukov came overseas and joined a terrible Guelph Storm team in his pre-draft season in 2016-17. He scored 20 points and had a minus-24 rating over the course of 67 games in the OHL and the Oilers took him with the No. 84 overall pick in the draft that summer.
Kostin opted to stay in Russia rather than coming to North America to join the Kootenay Ice. He wound up playing only 17 games between the KHL and VHL in his pre-draft year and his season ultimately came to an end after he underwent shoulder surgery.
Despite the disappointing season, Kostin was ranked as a first-round talent in virtually every pre-draft list as scouts and pundits saw the obvious potential of a 6’3″ forward with soft hands and good playmaking ability. The Blues wound up taking Kostin at No. 31 overall, a nice high-risk, high-reward selection at the end of the first round…
As NBCSN was saying, Kostin’s fall is a reflection on how odd this first round was. We saw players taken due to needs and got glimpses into what NHL teams value in young players right now. Any other draft, maybe Kostin goes in the top fifteen.He’s compared to Dallas’ Valeri Nichushkin for good reason. Kostin is a big winger who can control the puck well and has a strong instinct and drive to the net. It led to a shoulder injury this year, but he knows what he’s good at and does it.Unlike Nichushkin, however, there’s no sense he wants to play in Russia. He wants to make it work here. St. Louis is a great place to end up, and as good a fit as you could want this late in the first round. – SB Nation 2017 NHL Draft Grades
Since he was drafted out of Russia, Kostin was able to immediately play in the AHL as an 18-year-old. Kostin put together a decent rookie season playing for the San Antonio Rampage, as he scored six goals and 28 points over 67 games.
After a difficult sophomore season in which Klostin’s production dropped and he led the team in penalty minutes by a wide margin, he seemed to hit his stride in 2019-20. Kostin scored 13 goals and 30 points over 48 games for the Rampage and earned a four-game cup of coffee with the Blues.
His first NHL goal really nicely illustrates the skillset that has always had scouts so high on Kostin despite his uneven production…
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Meanwhile, Samorukov was slowly establishing himself as a top prospect for the Oilers as he started to show more offence in his game. In 2018-19, Samorukov had a huge season for the Storm, as he scored 45 points in 59 regular-season games and 28 points in 24 playoff games as the team’s top blueliner.
Both Kostin and Samorukov returned to Russia to play in the KHL during the 2020-21 season because of the pandemic. Samorukov thrived in a shutdown role with CSKA Moscow but his season ended early because of a shoulder injury. Kostin had a disappointing showing with Avangard Omsk as he scored just 18 points over 43 games.
Samorukov came into the 2021-22 season expecting to compete for a spot on the Oilers’ blueline but that got derailed when he broke his jaw in a pre-season rookie tournament game. Despite not joining the Condors until late October, Samorukov was called up in December as the Oilers were navigating a difficult time with multiple positive COVID-19 tests.
The debut, which ironically came against the Blues, was a disaster, as Samourkov was on the ice for two goals against in his first four shifts and he was benched for the rest of the game. On the other side, Kostin played 10:06 in that game and registered one shot on goal.
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Kostin got a pretty decent run with the Blues during the 2021-22 season but didn’t show much. He scored four goals and nine points over 40 games and didn’t suit up for the team at all during the playoffs. Samorukov started to hit his stride in the AHL following his tough debut but his season ultimately came to an early end because of another shoulder injury, this time on the other side.
So, what we have here is a swap of two young players who are pushing the edge of still being considered prospects. Both players have upside and untapped potential but could use a change of scenery in order to get an opportunity.
From Edmonton’s perspective, Samorukov fell behind Markus Niemelainen on the team’s depth chart as the big, physical, defensive defender who can bounce between Edmonton and Bakersfield. Kostin comes with a league-minimum salary of $750, something that’s very helpful to a team right up against the salary cap ceiling, and he gives them the combination of size, skill, and toughness that they’re looking for in their bottom-six.
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