I've been really excited about the talent level of Andrei Kostitsyn ever since he was drafted 10th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. The 2003 NHL entry draft, in my opinion, was the best draft year the NHL has ever seen. Andrei Kostitsyn was considered early on, by pro scouts to be in the top five of that year; however, health issues (epilepsy), made his stock fall that year. He fell to tenth when Trevor Timmins, Director of Player Recruitment for the Montreal Canadiens, selected Kostitsyn. Andrei Kostitsyn was brought to North America where he played for the Hamilton Bulldogs for three seasons, seeing 12 games of NHL hockey in 05-06 and 22 games in 06-07.
Andrei Kostitsyn's NHL Stats (courtesy of hockeydb):
YEAR GP G A PTS
2005-06 12 2 1 3
2006-07 22 1 10 11
2007-08 78 26 27 53
2008-09 74 23 18 41
Because Kostitsyn never played a full year in the NHL until 07-08, it is fair to say he has really only played two seasons in the NHL. In his two full seasons in the NHL, Andrei Kostitsyn has managed to score 20 goals each year; however, his play did take a step back in 08-09 statistically and on the ice. Sophomore slump? Yes.
One of the players Montreal could have had in 2003 instead of Kostitsyn:
Dustin Brown, drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 2003 (13th overall)
2003-04 31 1 4 5
2005-06 79 14 14 28
2006-07 81 17 29 46
2007-08 78 33 27 60
2008-09 80 24 29 53
Looking at the numbers, one can conclude that Brown did not break out until his third full year in the NHL. In my opinion, he has in fact still not reached his full potential as an NHLer.
Is it fair that habs fans, especially some on the Engels blogs are giving Kostitsyn a hard time after only playing two seasons in the NHL? No.
Ryan Getzlaf was drafted by the Anaheim Mighty (at the time) Ducks in 2003 19th overall. Remember I'm just comparing the numbers and not whether I'd prefer Kostitsyn over Getzlaf. (I would take Getzlaf over Kostitsyn any day, however, we have Kostitsyn and I am going to defend him).
Getzlaf's NHL stats:
2005-06 57 14 25 39
*2006-07 82 25 33 58
2007-08 77 24 58 82
2008-09 81 25 66 91
Getzlaf was crucial to guiding the Ducks to the Stanley Cup that year scoring 7 goals and 17 points in 21 games
As you can see by Geztlaf's first two seasons in the NHL, he hardly broke out (until the playoffs of his second year). His breakout season was his third (and the previous postseason). I also would like to state that I do not believe that Kostitsyn will be as dominant as Getzlaf as Getzlaf is one of the premier centermen in the game.
Jeff Carter: Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers 11th overall in 2003.
Carter was taken one place behind Kostitsyn. Another player that Timmins could have drafted instead of Kostitsyn. (Once again, I would have prefered Carter because he is a big Canadian boy who can snipe, as evidenced by his latest season in the NHL).
2005-06 81 23 19 42
2006-07 62 14 23 37
2007-08 82 29 24 53
2008-09 82 46 38 84
As you can see statistically, in his first two seasons, Andrei Kostitsyn has been better than Carter; however, Carter did enter the NHL at a younger age. Kostitsyn came to a foreign place where he had language issues as well as the need to adapt to the North American style of hockey.
The Sedins: Drafted by Vancouver 2nd and 3rd overall in the 1999 NHL entry draft.
The Sedins entered the NHL in 2000-01 as 20 year olds. So yes they were also a little younger then Kostitsyn when they began to play. I will only use Daniel Sedin's numbers since he is a more gifted scorer than Henrik. Henrik is a playmaker. I feel since the statistics of both Sedin's are comparable (points wise) that I only need to include the 'sniper'.
2000-01 75 20 14 34
2001-02 79 9 23 32
2002-03 79 14 17 31
2003-04 82 18 36 54
2005-06 82 22 49 71
2006-07 81 36 48 84
2007-08 82 29 45 74
2008-09 82 31 51 82
As you can see it took four mediocre years in the NHL and one layoff season due to the lockout for Daniel Sedin to blossom.
In summary, what I am trying to give evidence of to Montreal Canadien fans is that, Andrei Kostitsyn is still young, and inexperienced. He had a set back year this past season but still managed to be one of our top goal scorers. Patience my fellow Habs fans, for Kostitsyn still has lots to prove. I think that he might just turn out to be a star in Montreal.
all stats courtesy of hockeydb.com