Sergei Kostitsyn may be on his way to signing Russia, but he isn’t there yet.
That’s what agent Don Meehan explained on Wednesday, saying the Nashville forward — who has one year left on his deal with the Preds — has had talks with KHL Avangard Omsk, but hasn’t put pen to paper.
News of Kostitsyn’s KHL interest broke last week, when Russian news outlet Izvestia.ru ran a Q&A with Avangard’s GM.
In it, he confirmed his club was negotiating with the Belarussian forward and said he’d spoke with Preds GM David Poile, who “would not object” to letting Kostitsyn go.
Q: How are contract negotiations with Belarus striker Sergei Kostitsyn?
A: We offered Sergey contract, he is now under discussion. Every day contact with his agent. I also contact the general manager of “Nashville” by David [Poile]. We talked a few times on this issue and came to the conclusion that “Nashville” would not object to his move to the “Vanguard”.
Now everything depends on the willingness of Sergei, who is considering several proposals. We are actively negotiating with him and are close to having to continue our relationship.
On Monday, Josh Cooper of The Tennessean spoke with Poile, who indicated the Preds were ready to move on.
“I’m talking to [Kostitsyn’s] agent, so I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to play out,” Poile said. “I know he’s had some overtures from there, and we will work this out with Sergei if it’s appropriate.”
Poile then re-iterated what Barry Trotz said following the regular season — that Kostitsyn’s production (three goals in 46 games) simply wasn’t acceptable given his role as a top-six forward and his $3 million annual cap hit.
“With Sergei, three goals — we’re not going to win anything if a guy on your first line scores three goals,” Poile said. “That’s unacceptable.”
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.