Sergei Kostitsyn

Report: Sergei Kostitsyn nearing an NHL deal

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According to Igor Eronko, Sergei Kostitsyn is close to signing an NHL contract.

It is currently unknown which team Kostitsyn is negotiating with.

The 28-year-old spent the 2014-15 season with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL, scoring seven goals and 27 points in 49 games.

Originally a seventh-round selection (200th overall) of the Montreal Canadiens, Kostitsyn last played in the NHL during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, scoring three goals and 12 assists with the Nashville Predators.

Kostitsyn was placed on unconditional waivers by the Preds in July 2013 and signed a reported three-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.

The 6-foot, 207-pound forward has appeared in 353 NHL games with the Canadiens and Predators scoring 67 goals and 176 points.

Sergei Kostitsyn ends time with Preds, signs in KHL

sergeikostitsyngetty
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To the surprise of few, Sergei Kostitsyn’s time with the Nashville Predators officially ended on Friday, as the Tennessean’s Joshua Cooper reports that his contract was terminated. Sovetsky Sport’s Genadi Boguslavski reports that the winger signed a three-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.

This is the second summer in a row that the team decided to part ways with a polarizing European winger who ranked as one of the team’s top scorers. As you may remember, things ended pretty poorly with Alexander Radulov in the 2012 offseason, who also escaped to the KHL.

Kostitsyn, 26, didn’t break curfew like his brother Andrei and Radulov did to get on head coach Barry Trotz’s bad side.

Instead, he saw his numbers drop significantly, although Predators fans will probably remember this moment from March most of all:

When Nashville signed him, there seemed to be two schools of thought: he wouldn’t mix well with Trotz’s worldview or he’d be a steal as a skilled scorer at a low price.

Really, it seems like both sides were right. Kostitsyn tied Martin Erat for the team’s scoring lead in 2010-11 with 50 points and was nicely productive until things went south in 2013. Still, it seemed inevitable that he would fall out of place in Nashville’s grinding system.

With that all in mind, it makes sense that the two sides parted ways. Still, one cannot help but wonder how much the Predators will struggle to score in 2013-14, even with their considerable free agent spending.

Nashville nabs Stalberg: four years, $12 million

Viktor Stalberg
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One of the most intriguing free agents of the 2013 class is off the market.

Viktor Stalberg, just weeks removed from winning a Stanley Cup with Chicago, has agreed to join Nashville on a four-year, $12 million deal, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

The deal is a huge raise for the Swedish winger, who was making $875,000 annually on his last deal.

Stalberg, 27, fell out of head coach Joel Quenneville’s favor during the playoffs and was a healthy scratch four times during the Stanley Cup run – so it was unsurprising to hear he was leaving the ‘Hawks at season’s end.

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he’s got the size and skating ability — he was one of Chicago’s fastest players — to be a handful for opposing defensemen.

He posted career-highs in goals (22) and points (43) in 2011-12 and, in the shortened 2013 season, still managed to score at a 0.49 points per game clip, pretty close to what he posted the season prior (0.54).

Stalberg will have an average annual cap hit of $3 million in Nashville which, coincidentally, is the same cap hit Sergei Kostitsyn currently carries.

There’s some belief Kostitsyn will bail on the final year of his deal with the Preds to play in the KHL, where he’s been negotiating with Avangard Omsk.

Agent: Kostitsyn talked with KHL club, hasn’t signed yet

Nashville Predators v Detroit Red Wings

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.”

Report: Kostitsyn gets KHL offer, Preds won’t object to him leaving

Nashville Predators v Detroit Red Wings
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Interesting news out of Russia regarding the future of Nashville forward Sergei Kostitsyn.

According to news outlet Izvestia.ru, Kostitsyn has reportedly received a contract offer from KHL club Avangard Omsk, the team he played for during the lockout.

What’s more, Avangard’s GM has apparently had discussions with Preds GM David Poile, and claims Poile has no objections to Kostisyn leaving — despite the fact he has one year remaining on his deal with Nashville.

Here’s a Google translation of the Izvestia article:

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.

Pretty sure “Vanguard” is “Avangard,” FYI.

Poile and the Predators have been down this road before.

In 2008, they lost the services of Alex Radulov to KHL club Salavat Yulaev Ufa and, following last season, parted ways with Sergei’s brother, Andrei Kostitsyn, who eventually signed in the KHL with Traktor Chelyabinsk.

As for Sergei, he had a disappointing 2013 campaign for the Preds, scoring just three goals in 46 games and finishing with 15 points, eighth-most on the team.

There was also this embarrassing line-change fiasco against Edmonton in March, which got the Belarussian winger dropped from the lineup.

Following the end of the regular season, head coach Barry Trotz called out Kostitsyn for his lack of scoring.

“We expected production from Sergei and Craig Smith and we got none,” Trotz explained. “Both those guys, we were looking at them to be top-six, top-seven forwards and we got no production.”

It was quite a decline for Kostitsyn, who led the Predators in scoring (with 50 points) two years ago and signed a two-year, $6 million deal in 2012.