The Nashville Predators avoided the risk of unrestricted free agency by agreeing with Sergei Kostitsyn on a one-year, $2.5 million contract today, according to a report by Tim Wharnsby of the CBC. That means we can revisit this issue next summer, when he'll be a restricted free agent again.
#74 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators
Mar 20, 1987
|2010 - Sergei Kostitsyn||77||23||27||50||10||20||4||1||2||93||24.7|
Is this a bit of an overpay in order to head off the risk that he'd command a bigger payday on the open market? Perhaps. SK74 had nothing to gain by signing a contract today, unless the team was offering better terms on a "this offer expires as soon as we walk into this hearing" basis.
Overall, I'm satisfied with what David Poile was able to do in bringing back this RFA class. I had pegged the trio of Nick Spaling, Cal O'Reilly, and SK74 for around $5 million total, and this deal brings the three in together at a collective $4.55 million. Even $100,000 here and there can make a big difference at the trade deadline, when the team is considering a high-priced, but short-term addition for the playoff run.
Interestingly, now we'll probably never know which way the arbitrator would have ruled on the NHLPA's grievance over the delayed offer sheets.
Actually, Andreas Thurreson still hasn't signed with the New York Rangers, and Linus Klasen is over in Sweden, so the arbitration hearing may still go forward to rule whether or not the Preds goofed up on delivering their qualifying offers. At least now, the stakes are pretty much nothing for Nashville.
Follow after the jump for the team's press release...
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has agreed to terms with restricted free-agent forward Sergei Kostitsyn on a one-year contract worth $2.5 million.
Kostitsyn, 24 (3/20/87), led the Predators in goals (23) and tied for the team lead in points (50) during his first season with the club in 2010-11. The goal total was just one shy of Kostitsyn's total from his first three seasons and 155 games in the NHL (24), while his point total equaled that from his previous two campaigns combined (108 gp, 17g-33a-50pts). The Novopolotsk, Belarus native amassed 47 points (21g-26a) in 59 games from Dec. 1 to the end of the regular season. Kostitsyn registered points in 35 of those 59 games, including an 11-game point streak (7g-8a) from March 17-April 8, the second longest point streak in franchise history and tied for the third longest in the NHL in 2010-11. Kostitsyn scored his 23 goals on just 93 shots - 40 fewer than the next highest shot total among the 68 NHLers with 23-or-more tallies giving him a League-leading shooting percentage of 24.7.
Acquired for a pair of pending free agents (Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd) on June 29, 2010, the 6-0, 207-pound left wing has 118 points (47g-71a) in 232 career games since 2007. He was originally Montreal's sixth choice, 200th overall (seventh round), in 2005 Entry Draft.