Oilers Should Have Pursued Kostin as Brown Replacement

The Hockey Writers

The Edmonton Oilers made some strong moves at the trade deadline and proved they were willing to go all-in this season. They acquired Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick from the Anaheim Ducks who were both retained to save the Oilers money, which allowed them to also acquire defenceman Troy Stecher. There were plenty of other moves that occurred on the March 8 trade deadline, including the massive blockbuster that sent Tomas Hertl to the Vegas Golden Knights, but the Oilers missed out on the opportunity to bring back a fan favourite from last season. The Detroit Red Wings traded forward Klim Kostin to the San Jose Sharks for close to nothing, and the Oilers missed out on bringing him back.

Related: What Elias Pettersson’s Extension Means for McDavid, Draisaitl

The Oilers chose to trade Kostin alongside Kailer Yamamoto to the Red Wings before the start of the 2023-24 season due to money issues, and the Red Wings locked up Kostin on a two-year extension. The Oilers opted against re-signing Kostin and instead pursued forward Connor Brown in free agency. As a former junior teammate of Connor McDavid, fans were excited for Brown to come to town and provide depth to the forward lineup and hopefully add some depth scoring, but he hasn’t quite been able to do that this season. With just over a month left in the regular season, Brown has yet to score his first goal in an Oilers uniform.

Connor Brown Edmonton Oilers
Connor Brown Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kostin’s fit with the Red Wings wasn’t there either and while they needed some added grit to their lineup and he provided it, he wasn’t able to continue his offensive production that he found with the Oilers last season. They have moved on from him and sent him to, arguably, the worst team in the NHL. If the Red Wings were willing to move him, which they were, the Oilers should have tried to bring him in as Brown’s replacement down the stretch. During his stint with the Oilers, Kostin found his confidence, and played unbelievable hockey at both ends of the ice, while being a solid piece to the Oilers’ playoff run.

Kostin’s First Stint With the Oilers

Kostin is a 24-year-old left-shot forward from Penza, Russia who was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft at 31st overall by the St. Louis Blues. He was traded to the Oilers in exchange for defenceman Dmitri Samorukov in what was a fresh start for both players who weren’t getting a chance in the NHL with their respective teams. In his only season with the Oilers, he scored 11 goals and added 10 assists for 21 points through 57 games, which happened to be a career-high in every stat for him. He added 66 penalty minutes and had no fear to fight anyone he needed to, to set the tone for the team, making him loved by many fans in Edmonton.

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Kostin only played 33 games with the Red Wings this season, often being named a healthy scratch. In those games, he scored three goals and added one assist for four points, and added 38 penalty minutes. He continued to be a fighter and was willing to set the tone for his new team, but he never found the confidence he had with the Oilers. He has a chance to revamp his career with the Sharks where he will likely get an increased opportunity, but the Oilers still should have tried to bring him in.

Klim Kostin Edmonton Oilers
Klim Kostin, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Brown has been a strong penalty killer this season but hasn’t been able to do much else. The Oilers took a risk on him and it hasn’t paid off, so they should have tried to bring back someone they knew had fit into the lineup and would come right back in and be able to make a difference in the bottom-six. They instead chose to bring in Carrick to fill out their bottom-six and it seems like he is a good fit, but Kostin likely would have provided more to the Oilers than Carrick will be able to.

Oilers Look to Bounce Back From Loss to Sabres

The Oilers lost their last game on Saturday (March 9) to the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout and while they got a point out of the game, it’s tough to lose to a non-contending team. The Oilers will be back in action on Sunday (March 10) in a matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where they will look to have another showing against the Pens similar to their last game where they were all over them and took home a win. Hopefully, the moves at the trade deadline this season will be enough to help the Oilers make a push for their first Stanley Cup since 1990.

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