The St. Louis Blues have found a landing spot for Klim Kostin as he waits for the next NHL season to get underway. The young forward will return to the KHL for the time being, joining Avangard Omsk on a short-term assignment. Kostin will be able to return to North America for training camp with St. Louis, whenever that takes place.
Kostin, 21, was the 31st selection in the 2017 NHL draft, a pick the Blues received (along with Oskar Sundqvist) when they traded Ryan Reaves to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Immediately the powerful winger showed why the team had invested in him, scoring six goals and 28 points in the AHL as a teenager while also dominating the competition at the World Juniors with Russia. Kostin returned to the AHL in 2018-19 and put up ten goals and 24 points while recording more than 100 penalty minutes, but it was a bit of a disappointment given his early hype.
This year though, things were different. The 6’3″ winger ended up scoring 13 goals and 30 points in just 48 games with the San Antonio Rampage, while also making his NHL debut and scoring for the Blues. While there is still plenty of work to be done, the progress Kostin has made since being drafted is encouraging.
With two years remaining on his entry-level contract, the 2020-21 season is an important one for Kostin if he wants to establish himself as an NHL player before reaching restricted free agency. Getting some playing time in the KHL, where he actually debuted in 2017 before even being drafted, will only help him continue his development and come to North America ready to compete for a roster spot with the Blues.