Why Klim Kostin is the tough guy (with skill) that the Blues need for the playoff run

The moment has finally arrived. Klim Kostin, the wrecking ball also known as a young Russian hockey player, is with the St. Louis Blues and could skate tomorrow.

Nothing has been confirmed by Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic or Lou Korac of NHL.com but suffice to say, if Kostin is with the team, there’s a good chance he could start as the regular season winds down and the postseason gets put on low heat.

The 22-year-old came over to St. Louis during the 2017 NHL Draft, which saw Ryan Reaves go to Pittsburgh for the 31st pick. The Blues selected Kostin, who had shoulder issues but presented a healthy upside. A scoring touch that didn’t exist around a single deadly shot, Kostin isn’t afraid to attack the net after the initial attempt. He plays with aggression and at times, it can switch to reckless abandon. Fights, body-smashing hits, and a temper that doesn’t sit anywhere near calm.

But I know what you’re thinking. All this excitement for a guy with four games on his NHL resume. His lone Blues goal was a modest tease though, right? It showed that he has the ability to take over a play and finish it with a simple turn of his wrist.

Kostin collects the puck in his own zone after a save from Jordan Binnington. Instead of handing it off or making an ill-fated pass that results in a turnover, he just keeps going into Nashville’s zone like a train with no brakes. Gets near the wing and just unleashes a lightning-quick wrist shot that found the back of the net.

Right now, he’s the toughness that this team is missing. With no offense to whoever was appointed asskicker in this bunch, but some physicality sure plays in the ruthless postseason. A time and place where NHL teams grind softer teams to minced meat and dispose of them quickly in the first round. Skill still counts-and Kostin brings that to the table-but the raw urge to put another player through the boards counts too.

And while the KHL isn’t exactly comparable to NHL performance, Kostin did compile a nice run with Avangard Omsk, where he scored seven goals and 18 points in 43 games. A trend in play that has risen from the talented yet penalty-minute reckless talent from two years ago. According to a Rotoworld assessment back in 2019, Kostin wasn’t polished enough and still… two years away from NHL action.

Fast-forward to now and his chances are very real as the playoffs await the Blues. Whether it’s the Golden Knights or the Avalanche, they will have their hands full. They will need all the skill and toughness they can find. Klim Kostin should be their first call. Two games at home against Minnesota is a perfect way to mix him into the batch of blue before playoff hockey officially blooms.

Thanks for reading and Go Blues.

 

 

 

 

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