Russian forward Klim Kostin is suddenly free to sign with the St. Louis Blues.
That’s because Kostin, 18, has been released by the KHL’s financially troubled Dynamo Moscow club. His agent, Dan Milstein, tweeted Tuesday that an entry-level contract with the Blues should get signed “in the coming days.”
Kostin was the 31st overall pick in the 2017 draft. St. Louis got that pick in the Ryan Reaves trade with Pittsburgh.
Part of the reason Kostin dropped in the draft was because he’s under contract in the Kontinental Hockey League, but that could be cleared up as soon as Monday. His club, Moscow Dynamo, has new ownership that has threatened not to pay its current players. There are reports that Dynamo could release its entire roster, making the players unrestricted free agents.
But however long it takes to play out, the Blues are convinced that Kostin, much like fellow Russian Vladimir Tarasenko when he was drafted in 2010, wants to play in the NHL. That was the takeaway after interviewing him three times at the scouting combine in Buffalo last month.
Kostin was the top-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting. He was ranked higher than Miro Heiskanen, who went third overall to Dallas; Elias Pettersson, who went fifth overall to Vancouver; and Lias Andersson, who went seventh overall to the Rangers.
Kostin will likely play in the AHL next season.
“If he’s ready for the American Hockey League, that would be great,” said Blues GM Doug Armstrong. “If not, we’ll have to find a different option for him.”