2010-11 Nashville Predators Report Card: Sergei Kostitsyn

With the season now over, it's time to take a look back and examine each player's individual performance. We'll briefly break it down, and then offer a letter grade for the year. It's report cards, Nashville Predators-style, from Blum to Wilson. Next up: Sergei Kostitsyn.


Sergei Kostitsyn

#74 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators

6-0

210

Mar 20, 1987



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT

Regular Season

Playoffs

*led NHL

77

12

23

0

27

5

50

5

+10

0

20

2

4

0

1

0

2

0

93

10

24.7*

0

 


The SkinnyAcquired off of Montreal's scrap-heap for a pair of free agents (Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd) who weren't going to return to Nashville anyway, Sergei Kostitsyn came in as the ultimate "all upside" play by David Poile. At the time I questioned why the Predators, who talk so much about drafting players with strong work ethic and character, traded for a player best known for quarreling with his head coach and not reporting to his minor league team. By signing him to a bargain-basement one-year contract for $550,000, however, Poile maintained his flexibility in case things didn't work out.

Here's what fantasy hockey guru Darryl Dobbs contributed to our season preview for SK74:

I think the new environment will help. The talent is there. But he has a lot of baggage. I think under Trotz, the way they switch up their scoring lines, most forwards will be in that 40-50 point range and SK will be one of them. But on a different team with a coach who gives the freedom he could be really special. 

If he leads Nashville in scoring with 55-60 points I will be very surprised - but I'll probably be the least surprised out of anyone on the planet outside of his mother.

As it turns out, he did grow into a large role on the team - 4th among Nashville wingers in both even strength and power play ice time per game, with a dash of penalty killing work, too. The nice thing about his offensive performance is that it came along with responsible defensive play.

The Performance: Sergei's season got off to a slow start due to a broken toe (through the end of November he had just 1 goal and 2 assists in 19 games, and I didn't like what I saw at the time). Then he started working his way up the Preds' depth chart, eventually playing alongside Martin Erat and Marcel Goc, then later joining Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist. He hit his stride in December & January, scoring 10 goals and adding 13 assists in 27 games, and ultimately led the Predators in both goal-scoring and total points.

In the playoffs, he struggled to make an impact, but I'd argue that the problem there was that he was in over his head playing on a top scoring line. Until he takes another big step forward, he's more of a complementary piece, a player who provides heads-up playmaking and solid puck support, rather than a guy who drives the attack. 

The Grade: Graded relative to expectations, you can't help but give Sergei an A. He came in as a crap-shoot, and ended up leading the team in scoring. As I've argued several times, he rode the fortunate bounces to his 23 goals and doesn't shoot nearly enough, but if he can pop in 15 a year going forward he can still be a useful piece in the Predators' puzzle, a 40-point winger on a secondary line and special teams option. That's a great asset to pick up off the sidewalk, which is basically what David Poile did.

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