Projecting A. Kostitsyn

An ideal comparison would be a recent Eurpoean (preferably Eastern) top 10 pick who started out in the NHL at 21/22 and there just aren't many guys like that. The lockout year further muddied waters.

Kostitsyn was in the AHL for his 20 y.o. season, AHL/NHL at 21 (I averaged his NHL ppg and AHL equiv. ppg) and had a full NHL season this past year at 22.

It is important to note that the hockey-reference.com age numbers are "player age on February 1 of the given season." Kostitsyn is a Feb. 3 birthday, meaning he's as old as a player can be and still qualify as 20/21/22 in the three seasons listed.

Finally, his production this year was inflated a bit by a remarkably high shooting percentage by his line. His 0.68ppg might be overstated slightly.

The numbers are from hockey-reference.com. Italics mean NHL Equivalent ppg.

Hossa's development appears to have happened a full year earlier than Kostitsyn. But guess what? He's a Jan 12 birth, meaning it actually occurred two full years earlier. You could move his ppg numbers one column to the left. Hossa is not a fair comparison for Kostitsyn - he's listed just to demonstrate what Kostitsyn is not.

On the other hand, Andrei is ahead of Bondra's NHL numbers by a year and Bondra started out in a much higher scoring era. There is a lot if similarity with Elias at 21/22, but Kostitsyn got more PP time. Langenbrunner is very similar too.

Looks like Kostitsyn may be ahead of Dumont, Satan, Straka (who was injured a lot, I think), Cammalleri, Nagy and Audette.

Niklas Sundstrom is a cautionary tale of a player whose early numbers were propped up with high shot% and good linemates. I don't think Andrei is Sundstrom, because I think he drove results as much as anyone on his line at EV.

Naslund isn't a fair comp at all because he played behind Mogilny and Bure in Van, and behind an entire wing of the Hall of Fame in Pit. It's still nice to see Andrei's numbers look good in comparison.

Higgins makes a nice touchstone that we all know pretty well. Kostitsyn is ahead of him by a fair bit.

With his limited body of work, it's not easy picking one player as a good comparison. Looking at some other recent products of the Russian system, he's ahead of Afinogenov, Fedotenko and Ponikarovsky but behind Frolov.

At the absolute top end if-he-sells-his-soul-to-Miro-Satan, Kostitsyn may turn out to be Elias. We can be pretty sure he'll pan out better than Dumont. I'm not confident enough to project anything more specific than that.


Anonymous Olibou said...

The thing with Akost isn't to know if he can be counted on for .75 ppg... I think it's a fairly reasonable expactation, with a few .9/1 ppg seasons sprinkled around.

But that cannon of a wrist shot is a true game-breaking ability, and that's why I like the Bondra comp. Those .9+ ppg seasons could very well be of the 40+ goals type.

Unless Siarhei has a helle of a carrer year at some point, I don't think he can touch 50, if only once.

5/06/2008 2:40 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff J said...

Bondra is one of the better comparisons out there. While AKost is more finisher than playmaker, he's a little more well rounded than Bondra. Bondra put up some Cy Young seasons everywhere he played (30g, 10a in the Czech league, 34g, 9a in the NHL).

It's not easy finding good matches for this guy. All the Russian snipers seem to be either 50+ goal superstars (Bure, Mogilny, Kovalchuk, Ovechkin) or second-tier forwards (Fedotenko, Antropov, Kovalenko, Berezin). Andrei is in between.

I'll do Higgins next followed by Sergei/Siarhei/PocketKostit.

5/06/2008 5:01 p.m.  

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