How much would you pay for a KHL star returning to the NHL in his prime to try and make an impact on a winner? No, not Ilya Kovalchuk but Stephane Da Costa who according to Darren Dreger of TSN “100% intends on playing in the NHL next season.” Da Costa has played the last three seasons in the KHL, but now has interest from multiple teams around the league.
Now 27, Da Costa left the NHL after spending another year toiling in the AHL for Ottawa and made an immediate impact in the Russian league. Scoring 62 points in 46 games as a KHL rookie, Da Costa had found a place to ply his trade and has rebuilt his value. The undersized forward is equipped with a lethal shot, but always showed a lack of straight-line speed and the ability to keep up strength-wise with the rest of the league. Whether that’s changed now will be a key factor in whether he can come back to any success.
Any deal he comes back to will likely be short, as he hasn’t done enough to deserve any real security. He’s still young enough to take a “prove-me” deal and earn a long-term offer next summer, but he’ll have to show that he can be a consistent offensive producer, something he never did in his short NHL career. In 47 career games, he scored just 11 points.