NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Klim Kostin fit several criteria Steve Yzerman is looking for as he seeks to strengthen the Detroit Red Wings.
Kostin’s appeal made it worth it to have to take on Kailer Yamamoto and his contract in order to facilitate a trade with the Edmonton Oilers during a busy second day at the NHL draft. Kostin is 24, 6 feet 3 and 224 pounds, and projects to make the Wings harder to play against.
“Kostin is a big winger, plays hard,” Yzerman said Thursday. “We were looking to add some of that. We have to figure out exactly what our plan and where Kailer (fits). I haven’t even had a chance to talk to him or his agent to figure out what our plan there is.”
The Wings sent “future considerations” to the Oilers in the exchange, while generally means lower-round picks to be determined.
NHL DRAFT, DAY 2: Michigan State goalie Trey Augustine among 9 Red Wings picks
While Kostin, a restricted free agent, makes the Wings bigger, he does not address their need for a scorer. Yzerman traded away his two best goal scorers, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana, at the deadline last season. Yzerman could try to fill that void via free agency, which begins Saturday; he also needs a goaltender to help Ville Husso and a right-shot defenseman to replace Filip Hronek, another trade-deadline departure.
“We have some roster spots open and we will see if we can’t address those in free agency,” Yzerman said. He didn’t rule out executing another trade, too.
“I think we’re positioned reasonably well with cap space, with draft picks, if we want to go at it through trade, if we want to go at it through free agency,” Yzerman said. “There are options there. But I’m not just going to spend the money because I have it and we’re not going to just trade the picks because we have them. We are going to try to make good decisions.
“But it gives you options. It’s just hard — like, if you want young players, which there aren’t many of them on the market, to get them, you have to be prepared to pay.”
Yzerman said he would make final decisions Friday on which of their own restricted free agents — a group that includes Joe Veleno, Gustav Lindström — will be qualified. He’s also touched bases with some of the pending unrestricted free agents, which includes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.
“We haven’t rule anything out,” Yzerman said. “We have talked to some of them.”
Kostin is coming off a career-high 11 goals and 21 points in 57 games.
“We watched him last year,” Yzerman said. “He’s big and he skated well, got more involved. He played on a pretty deep team in Edmonton, so this is an opportunity to take on a bigger role. We felt like he showed he can play in the NHL as a regular, that was our opinion. We’re optimistic he can work his way into a bigger role with us.”
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.