St. Louis Blues Mercifully Trade Klim Kostin To Edmonton

St. Louis BluesKlim Kostin (37)Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesKlim Kostin (37)Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

A funny thing about writing about sports is it is all about timing. Few will believe me, but I was working on a piece that was going to discuss Klim Kostin’s days with the St. Louis Blues being numbered and simply drug my feet in finishing it.

It is too bad, because I would have looked like Nostradamus. My thoughts came true, albeit faster than I anticipated, as St. Louis has sent Kostin packing.

The Blues traded the Russian forward to the Edmonton Oilers on October 9. St. Louis receives a fellow Russian in return, getting Dmitri Samorukov.

Samorukov is a 23-year old defenseman. According to his Hockey Reference page, he’s 6’3 and 198 lbs.

So, he has a bit of size to him. Whether that means anything remains to be seen.

To this point, he has only one NHL game to his name. He also only played 2:28 worth of ice time in that game, so he wasn’t exactly forcing his way into the Oilers lineup and they were a team that needed defensive help at times.

Ultimately, this is likely a mercy trade for Kostin. Doug Armstrong is all business, but he knows there is a human side to this industry.

To put it plainly, Kostin had been passed up by too many people. At 23, there is still room for him to grow, but he wasn’t going to get that chance with the Blues in the NHL.

Despite being the focal point of a draft-day trade that sent Ryan Reaves to Pittsburgh for Oskar Sundqvist and a draft pick that was used to select Kostin, the enigmatic forward never found his groove in North America. He was drafted for his size, skating ability and scoring ability.

Whether by organizational design or by his own choice, he became more of a physical presence in the AHL. Kostin was playing more of a fourth line role in his playing style, often getting into fights or physical altercations.

Sure, you see talented guys like Brayden Schenn drop the gloves now and then, but Kostin seemed to have taken too dramatic a shift. Oddly, we did not see that style too much when he was afforded a look with the Blues.

He threw four hits in his very first NHL game and scored a goal in his fourth. That whet people’s apatite, but we never got the main course.

Kostin only played two games in 2020-21, although some of that was attributed to the partial season. Kostin got 46 games in the NHL in 2021-22 and scored five goals, nine points and threw 90 hits.

He just never quite found his groove. The coaching staff was always asking more of him and he simply couldn’t connect the dots with the Blues.

There will be plenty of fans that say he did not get a fair shot. Maybe that’s true and maybe it’s not.

If you choose not to trust Craig Berube and Armstrong, that’s your choice, but they have not missed on very many players they chose to let go. People said the Blues were wrong to move on from Robby Fabbri, but his career highs are still in a Blues uniform, so he has not proven to excel elsewhere.

Perhaps Kostin will. Or, perhaps he doesn’t even play with the Oilers much. Edmonton needs some grit, so maybe he does crack the lineup, but usually a trade just days before the season begins is not one either team expects to have a big impact. There are exceptions, but not many.

Ultimately, Kostin is gone because Armstrong saw the writing on the wall and mercifully gave him a chance elsewhere. Even if he’s the first guy called up from the AHL for the Oilers, that’s better than he was going to have with the Blues.

Kostin had simply fallen too far on the Blues depth chart. Alexei Toropchenko leap frogged him into an NHL slot and was penciled in for the starting lineup prior to an offseason injury.

Another fellow Russian, Nikita Alexandrov had also jumped over his countryman. Jake Neighbours already punched his NHL slot.

The Blues signed free agents like Noel Acciari and Josh Leivo, who got immediate spots. Nathan Walker passed up Kostin and even another depth piece like Martin Frk was poised to be a callup before Kostin was.

Kostin needed to play and perhaps he’ll get more of a look with the Oilers. If not, at least it’s a fresh start with a new coaching staff.

The Blues had simply run out of patience. Whatever it was they were asking of him, they had not seen enough to think he made the strides.

It’s a shame since there were flashes of talent there. Maybe the talent is there and it’s just a matter of fit.

Whatever the reason, Kostin is out. For his sake, hopefully Edmonton brings better results for him, but the Blues have not given up a player that went on to become something special in a long time without getting something significant in return, i.e. Ryan O’Reilly.