Oilers Should He Stay Or Should He Go: Klim Kostin

Apr 19, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring a goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring a goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

Since the Edmonton Oilers are now eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is time to look forward to the offseason and the move they need to make. One job that needs to be done is re-signing RFA’s and UFA’s. In this article, I will look at the pros and cons of bringing back RFA Klim Kostin.

Klim Kostin was acquired for defenceman Dmitri Samorukov. This trade was made because the Edmonton Oilers had an excess of defencemen and Samorukov was unlikely to get a spot on the NHL squad here and the Oilers winger scoring depth was lacking.

In my opinion, Kostin was a nice surprise for the Edmonton Oilers. He was able to score 11 goals in 57 regular season games and added 3 goals in the 12 playoff games. This is more impressive considering how few minutes he plays. During the regular season, he averaged 10:04 and during the playoffs, he was the lowest of all forwards with a 7:44 average played.

Kostin has an excellent shot and release and has the ability to score from a distance. This was evident in the goals in the playoffs. Unfortunately, he still has yet to earn the trust of the Edmonton Oilers coaching staff. This is reflected in his time played. In playoffs playing that low of minutes shows me that the coaches trust every other forward more than him

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Edmonton Oilers Cap Space Will Play The Biggest Factor

I think the Edmonton Oilers want to keep Kostin, the big question is how much will it cost to keep him on the team. Last season Kostin had a cap hit of $750,000. That was a bargain deal for the Oilers. I would expect Kostin to look for more money.

The qualifying offer amount is $787,500. This is an amount the Oilers would be good with paying. I just don’t think Kostin will like that amount. Kostin also has arbitration rights this offseason. Which is the route Kostin will likely take.

The Oilers should be concerned if Kostin goes to arbitration. The number of goals that Kostin got last season will bump up his cap hit. A comparable to Kostin would be Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin.

Trenin(17G-7A-82GP) went to arbitration last summer and was awarded an AAV of $1,700,000. He had worse stats than Kostin did last season. They had similar goals/game, but Kostin had a better point per game in less time on ice.

The Oilers May Let Kostin Test Free Agency

The fact that if Kostin goes to arbitration it may cost the Edmonton Oilers north of $1.5 million per year is a big worry for the Oilers. This is why I think the Oilers will not qualify Kostin and let him test free agency.

This doesn’t mean that he won’t be an Oiler next season, it just means the Oilers would like to spend their cap space more efficiently. Paying more than $1.5 million for a player that plays as few minutes a game isn’t good cap management.

With the Stanely Cup window wide open for the Edmonton Oilers right now they need to minimize the amount of bad contracts they have. If Kostin is okay with taking a small raise then this deal gets done, but just like everyone in the world NHL players want to maximize their money.

Hopefully, you aren’t super attached to Klim Kostin, cause I think there is a pretty good chance that he may not be an Oiler come the start of next season.