2010 NHL Free Agency: Predators roll the dice with Sergei Kostitsyn


sergeikostit.jpgWhen the Kostitsyn brothers (sort of) burst onto the scene, Andrei was considered the better finisher/generally more talented of the two but Sergei was the “fast” one. Either way, it seemed like the two had a chance to be a solid sibling set for the Montreal Canadiens.

As you may know, things fell apart for both of them, but Sergei in particular struggled with the Habs. He bounced around the big squad and the AHL while rumors circulated and his attitude was in question. The Canadiens traded Sergei in exchange for negotiating rights to Dan Ellis recently, ending what had become an increasingly ugly relationship.

The Belarus product is flawed for sure – he’s not known for having much interest in defense and rarely does much away from the puck – but the Nashville Predators are taking a chance on Kostitsyn redeeming himself in a new environment. The team signed him to a one-year, $550K contract today. I think On the Forecheck’s Dirk Hoag assessment hits the nail on the head.

So the Preds sign Sergei Kostitsyn to a one-year deal… He’s the NHL equivalent of a $550K lottery ticket.

That sounds about right, although in NHL terms, that’s a fairly cheap ticket. It’s been a rocky few years for Sergei Kostitsyn, but you never know. The shifty winger could be this year’s Maxim Afinogenov.

(Then again, Afinogenov is still looking for a contract, so maybe he’s not the best role model to have.)

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.