Yet another NHL veteran who was trying to hold out for a new contract in North America is now close to settling for European employment. The Swiss Hockey News reports that Stephane Da Costa is nearing an agreement with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss NLA. Da Costa, 28, was a superstar at Merrimack College from 2009 to 2011 and looked to be the next great story in the NHL after signing with the Ottawa Senators – an undrafted player coming from a non-traditional hockey country of France. While Da Costa proved to be a lethal producer in the AHL, he could never quite stick in Ottawa and left the NHL in 2012. Da Costa spent the past three years with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, putting up solid numbers, but it has been his international play on the part of France that has really turned heads. Beginning with a stellar 10-point performance at the World Championships last spring, Da Costa had reportedly been drawing interest from NHL teams and fully planned on playing with the world’s best this season. Yet, with the new season underway, those offers never came and it seems Da Costa is now ready to move on. While Geneve-Servette is off to a tough start in the NLA – second-to-last currently – they are not without considerable talent up front, including NHL veterans Nathan Gerbe, Nick Spaling, and Cody Almond, as well as San Jose Sharks prospect Noah Rod. Da Costa could help kick start a team that typically performs near the top of the NLA and made it to the final of the 2017 Swiss Cup tournament.
- Da Costa hasn’t yet signed with Geneve-Servette, but by the time he does he may no longer be the biggest name in terms of recent additions. With Mark Streit being placed on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens yesterday (with a very good chance of clearing today), it seems more likely that the veteran defenseman will ask for his release than be assigned to the AHL but the Canadiens. Given that the soon-to-be-40-year-old could have simply rode off into the sunset after winning the Stanley Cup last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, it is clear that he wants to keep playing. That opportunity will likely come in his native country of Switzerland, where Streit has suited up for the NLA’s HC Davos, ZSC Lions, and SC Bern over his career. A return home to much fanfare and a chance to play in the Olympics seems like much more fitting end for Streit than playing in the minors
- A seemingly minor move in the KHL could be of some interest to Boston Bruins fans. In a round-up of their minor transaction over the past few days, the league revealed that the rights to forward Oskar Steen, Boston’s sixth-round pick in 2016, had been acquired by SKA St. Petersburg. While Steen has been playing for Farjestad of the SHL for three years now, an opportunity to play for SKA may be tough for the young Swede forward to pass up. Farjestad is no slouch, but SKA has been wildly successful in recent years, winning two of the past three KHL titles and again tearing up the league with a 17-point lead over the next-best team. SKA graduated players like Vadim Shipachyov and Evgeni Dadonov to the NHL this off-season, but still carry top prospects like Nikita Gusev and Igor Shestyorkin and talented veterans like Ilya Kovalchuk, Viktor Tikhonov, Sergei Plotnikov, and even long-time defenseman Maxim Chudinov, former property of the Bruins. Joining that mix could be a good career-move for the under-utilized Steen, could give SKA a further boost, and could help round out yet another promising prospect to add to the Bruins’ ranks.