A shoulder injury in January followed by subsequent surgery in February not only ended Russian winger Klim Kostin’s season, but caused the 18-year-old to slip on many draft boards. Despite the injury, Kostin still finished the season as NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked European skater, which is a testament to his mix of size and skill on the wing.
Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 207 pounds, Kostin boasts the strength on and off of the puck that you’d expect from a big, physical winger, as well as a dynamic offensive skillset, NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com:
"He's close to a complete package with a good combination of size and mobility with great moves and dekes...He has a very good release but is also unselfish and can set up scoring chances for linemates. Excellent puck-handler, effective in traffic. He's hard to knock off the puck, has good vision. Plays a simple but effective game."
His abilities were on full display at August’s under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Kostin scored seven points (four goals, three assists) as he captained his country to a Bronze Medal and ensured Russia’s first back-to-back appearance on the medal stand since 2009. He also captained his country at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge and the Under-18 World Championships when the Under-17 team replaced the Under-18 team due to a doping scandal.
Kostin was limited to just 18 regular season games at the club level this past season because of his previously-mentioned injury, in which he managed to score just two points. One of those came in a single game in the MHL, playing against players his age, while the other came in 17 games between the KHL and VHL, playing against men in Russia’s first and second professional divisions, respectively.
But the forward passed his medical testing at the NHL scouting combine and was cleared to fully participate in the fitness testing. As a European forward, the Sharks can assign Kostin to the Barracuda and closely monitor his progress.
That’s his preference, too. Kostin, who was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the first pick of the CHL’s Import Draft, told NHL.com through an interpreter that he’s not interested in playing Canadian junior, and would like to play on “a team that has some older players that are very strong players, those that can teach me a little bit more and I can benefit from their wisdom and skill.”
Kostin’s injury history may scare other teams, but his size, skill, and leadership experience make him a pretty ideal pick for the Sharks. San Jose’s system lacks dynamic offensive talent on the wing, and drafting Kostin would inject some much-needed skill into its prospect pool.
Name: Klim Kostin
Position: Right Wing
DOB: May 5, 1999
Weight (lbs): 207
Hometown: Penza, Russia
2016-17: Dynamo Moscow (KHL), Dynamo Balashikha (VHL), HK MVD Blashikha (MHL)
2015-16: HK MVD Balshikha (MHL), Dynamo Moscow U17 (Russia U17)
2014-15: Dyanmo Moscow U16 (Russia U16)
- Playmaking ability
Areas of Improvement
- Heavy skater at times
- Can get caught trying to do too much offensively