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Numbers Game: Predators add another Kostitsyn

Scott Cullen
2/27/2012 11:04:00 AM
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The first deal of deadine day involved in the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators, as the Predators re-unite the Kostitsyn brothers.

Numbers Game examines the acquisition of Andrei Kostitsyn.

The Predators Get: LW Andrei Kostitsyn.

Kostitsyn, 27, is a skilled winger who has been inconsistent throughout his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens, scoring 12 goals and 24 points, with a career-low minus-8 rating in 53 games this season.

Among Canadiens forwards, only Travis Moen and Michael Blunden had worse shot differentials than Kostitsyn's minus-4.5 (5-on-5, per www.behindthenet.ca) this season as he's shuffled back and forth between a scoring and third-line role, playing just 15:11 per game this season, his lowest playing time since 2006-2007.

Kostitsyn, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer, comes with a $3.25-million contract this season. He's a three-time 20-goal scorer who is also capable of playing a physical game, but the challenge is getting Kostitsyn to perform on a consistent basis.

He will join his brother Sergei Kostitsyn as one of the more skilled forwards in Nashville, but Andrei's ice time will be determined by how well he adjusts to Barry Trotz's system. Sergei Kostitsyn, who is a skilled forward that might not have been considered a Trotz-type player, has fared well in Nashville, so it's not unreasonable to think that Andrei might be able to achieve similar success.

At the low end, Andrei Kostitsyn figures to handle a top-nine role for the Predators, with potential to take on a more offensive role (perhaps ahead of rookie Gabriel Bourque on the second line), boosting Nashville's attack, an attack that ranks 10th in the league with 2.79 goals per game this season.

The Canadiens Get: A second-round pick in 2013 and a return of the conditional fifth-round pick in 2013 that Nashville had previously acquired from Montreal.

This doesn't offer a lot of immediate value for the Canadiens, as a second-round pick provides a 25-30% chance of becoming an NHLer and that could be four or five years down the road.

However, since Kostitsyn was headed for unrestricted free agency, it made sense for the Canadiens to get something in return.

If looking for a Canadiens winger that might see an increased role with Kostitsyn gone, consider Aaron Palushaj, a 22-year-old winger who has just one point in 22 games this year, but has a decent shot differential (plus-1.0 per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play) in limited ice time (7:33 per game in 22 games) with the Canadiens, but has 13 goals and 31 points in 31 games with Hamilton of the AHL.

The return isn't all that significant, but Montreal wasn't going to keep Kostitsyn around at his current price, let alone sign him long-term, so it's fair to start looking to the future and start giving a younger player Kostitsyn's ice time.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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