Searching for the next Kostin
Most teams have players bubbling under the surface that haven’t quite made the roster, or moved up in it, for reasons such as skill/skating deficiencies, logjams at their positions, or performance or confidence issues where the player fails to win the trust of the coach. And that’s exactly how the Oilers found Kostin last season.
Mark Kastelic has played over 100 NHL games on weak Senators teams in recent years, and his impacts over the last full season are similar to McCarron’s, with 50th percentile offence and 78th percentile defense. If he can focus on staying out of the box, he could be a fantastic role player on a contender. At 6-foot-4, 226 lbs, he was outmatched fighting Tanner Jeannot, but held it together against Arber Xhekaj. A surprisingly effective player when not taking bad penalties.
Also with the Sens, Yegor Sokolov has only played 13 NHL games, and is not at all a fighter, but should be able to mix physicality and skill in a depth NHL role. The prospect of a 6-foot-3, 223 lbs player with some speed and skill is always tantalizing.
On the other hand, Jeff Jackson and Ken Holland could look to acquire a player who is getting established on a team that is not near contending status. With that team therefore in limbo, they might prefer to trade a player they see as having limited potential, for more futures with higher potential.
On the Blues, Alexsi Toropchenko has had an inconsistent start to his career. He managed 20 points in 70 games last season, with some nice analytics, but some awful micro stats that are a concern. If they see him as a limited player due to these reasons, it could be worth paying for the player he is now – above average at defence, decent depth finishing, and physically dominant tools to develop under coach Kris Knoblauch.
Lastly, it’s a pipe dream, but if the Red Wings would like to take their chance at rolling the dice on more futures, former Holland pick in Michael Rasmussen has already arrived as an NHL player and would solidify the third line for years to come. He’s been around 50th percentile at offensive and defensive play-driving recently in his depth role and is a high-end penalty kill option. There’s always a chance that new general managers on rebuilding teams aren’t attached to the previous general manager's picks, and that they’d rather swing for the fences (i.e. top-line talents) with some picks.
The Oilers’ own Lavoie and Philip Broberg are two homegrown players bubbling under the NHL surface right now, and even though I am a fan of the players, the organization may feel the need to move on and swap them for similar players as they did in the Dmitri Samorukov-Kostin trade. They may see Lavoie as a power play specialist on a loaded PP team, and Broberg as stuck behind Mattias Ekholm, Darnell Nurse and Brett Kulak. You may even see them make another player swap to find the “next Kostin” (or you could see the futures traded for a second line winger, a second pairing right-shot defenceman, or tandem goalie).
Consider, what pieces and/or futures would you package up to acquire any of these players?