The Edmonton Oilers have acquired forward Klim Kostin from the St. Louis Blues in a one-for-one swap for defenseman Dmitri Samorukov, according to a team tweet. Both Kostin and Samorukov cleared waivers earlier this week.
Kostin, 23, has played just 46 NHL games since the Blues selected him with the final pick of the first round in 2017. 40 of those 46 games in 2021-22, where Kostin had four goals and five assists for nine points playing on a semi-full-time basis for the first time. Kostin also had just six points in 17 AHL games with the Springfield Thunderbirds last season. He’s never had much sustained offensive success, even in the AHL, and five years after being drafted, an NHL future for Kostin is fading quickly.
It’s the opposite for Samorukov, however, who now may get an NHL opportunity right out of the gate with the Blues. With injuries to Marco Scandella and Scott Perunovich dismantling the team’s left-shot defense depth, Samorukov comes in as a young player who can battle to capture a bottom-pairing role. It was rather surprising when Samorukov cleared waivers yesterday, considering how close he is to being NHL-ready. Selected 84th overall in the same 2017 draft, Samorukov made his NHL debut last season and emerged as a strong top-four defender with AHL Bakersfield.
Samorukov should immediately enter a battle with Niko Mikkola for NHL minutes right out of the gate. Given the team’s thin depth, it seems unlikely they’d opt to send Samorukov to Springfield for added conditioning. Add in the consideration that Samorukov wasn’t able to participate in training camp with the Blues and become adjusted to the team’s staff, and it makes sense that they would keep him around on the NHL roster for the time being.
For Kostin, the AHL does seem like the most likely option given the emergence of Dylan Holloway and Edmonton’s tight salary cap situation.
How did Kostin clear is the real question?
I believe it is because no team claimed him.