Vladmir Tarasenko may be currently banged up, but the Blues have some Russian reinforcements on the way. According to Jeremy Rutherford at the Athletic (subscription required), Kostin will be heading to St. Louis on Tuesday to continue his Gagarin Cup celebrations.
Someone get that man a Bud, and then get him to the taxi squad. Oh, that’s where he’s going? Perfect. Kostin, as a player currently under contract with a NHL team, just has to complete quarantine that is to be determined, and then he’ll get some practice in as part of the taxi squad. From there? The Blues can start to slot him into the lineup.
Depending on what Tarasenko’s injury is, Kostin could sneak his way into the top six. Right now, that position is held by Sammy Blais. Blais contributed in a big way Thursday night on the line with Jaden Schwartz and Tyler Bozak, scoring a goal.
Kostin more than likely won’t be slotted into the fourth line with Kyle Clifford and Ivan Barbashev; Blais may slide down there to give Kostin some room to show off.
Kostin may be at an advantage right now, and not just because he’s still riding high from winning a championship. That advantage comes from who coached him to that championship, Bob Hartley. Hartley is best known for coaching the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 2001.
“He’s done a tremendous job with that team, but for us, he’s done a really good job developing Klim,” Taylor said. “Halfway through the season he started to play a north-south game, and it was really huge for his development and his trust with his coach. But he really learned to mature as a player and as a person, and his game has blossomed because of that.
“I’m very proud of him because he’s stuck with it and ultimately won a championship, and you can’t take that back no matter what league it is. Championships are championships and that’s what we want with our team is winners.”
Hartley and Blues coach Craig Berube both have a high level of expectation for their players, so there shouldn’t be much, if any, expectation adaptation on Kostin’s part when he begins playing.
When will that be? Who knows, but we have something new to look forward to.