Outside of Robert Thomas, there has not been a name of more interest among fans than Klim Kostin. Some people will always demand too much of Kostin due to the trade that acquired the draft pick used to select him.
That is grossly unfair as he had nothing to do with it. You cannot hold Kostin to some lofty standard just because you were in love with the grit that a certain fourth line player used to bring.
With that said, Kostin is taking a lot more time to get acclimated than any of us thought given all the accolades we heard and read upon his draft. To say it has been slow going would be somewhat of an understatement.
Right now, the hope is that Kostin continues to adjust to the American game as he ages. He plays perfectly well against guys his own age.
Kostin has been dominant in international play. He had a solid World Junior Championship in early 2019. He finished that with three goals and six points in seven games. He also, infamously, got into it with the Canadian crowd, as you could see from the main photograph where he put his fingers into his ears.
International play has been kind to him. He had five goals and eight points in five games in the 2018 WJC.
The States have not been as nice. Kostin had six goals and 28 points in 2017-18. We hoped it was all just rookie jitters and adjusting to a new country.
Now, Kostin has eight goals and 21 points in 57 AHL games. You can argue about his age, which is still just 19, but the worrying thing is the transition to his game.
He has become more of a third or fourth line style of guy. He has amassed 92 penalty minutes this season after 72 in his rookie year. That’s great to bring that kind of grit if you’re in the NHL, such as Sammy Blais has, but not if you are in the AHL.
His behavior in the 2019 WJC makes you wonder if he is too easily agitated. You can’t be that way as a pro.
I still believe he will make it. There is talent in there. It is just not going to be anytime soon it seems.