Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: RW Klim Kostin

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Vancouver Canucks want to rebuild successfully, they might need to target high-risk, high-reward players — like Klim Kostin.

By now you might have noticed that I would love to see the Vancouver Canucks making some bold picks at the 2017 NHL Draft. If you want to be successful in the NHL, you need to draft players that make you successful. Not ones you can find plenty of in free agency.

At the top of the draft, that applies to some extent. A question like “Nolan Patrick or Cale Makar?” can be answered two different ways, depending on what you want. However, that question will only be relevant at the very top of the draft — and at that point, it’s probably smart to go for the ‘safe pick’ rather than the one who may or may not have a slightly higher ceiling.

Once you move down a little further, though, you may ask yourself: “Gabriel Vilardi or Kristian Vesalainen?” Yet further down, it might be “Martin Necas or Klim Kostin?” And that’s where things get interesting.

High-risk, high-reward picks are the ones that can lead to championships when all the ‘sure-fire stars’ are gone. Enter Russian forward Klim Kostin, who has everything that makes scouts and GMs think twice about their pick.

Name: Klim Kostin

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Left

Birthdate: 1999-05-05

Height, weight: 6’3”, 196 lbs

Team, league: Dynamo Moskva, KHL

Stats (from 







#23 by
#12 by ISS Hockey
#14 by Future Considerations
#22 by McKeen’s Hockey
#1 by NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2/5, 5/5

NHL-potential: Top-line winger

Draft Range: Top 35

Scouting report

"A big-bodied power winger with strong work ethic…he can dominate for stretches with his cycle game and puck-protection skills…can carry defenders around the ice with his power and balance, or stickhandle around them with a deke or two as he goes to the net…high-energy guy, always keeps his feet moving…possesses a very quick release and has great shot selection…heads-up player who has a great work ethic and leads by example…works his tail off away from the play to get himself in position to make a play…strong intelligence and sees plays developing around him, knowing how to interject himself to provide the best opportunity…is responsible away from the puck and knows where to be to support his defenders…will be a real beast as he adds even more muscle to his impressive frame. (Future Considerations, November 2016)"


Going into his draft year, Klim Kostin was expected to be in the top-five conversation come draft time. He is now about as far away from that as a potential first-rounder can be, but let’s talk about what put him in the conversation in the first place.

Kostin is an immensely skilled, big-bodied power winger who can stand out in multiple ways. Most notably, Kostin can hold on to the puck for as long as he wants, thanks to his frame and excellent puck-protection skills. With that, he has an excellent cycle game, always waiting for spaces to open up.

Another standout attribute is his shooting ability. Kostin not only has an arsenal of heavy, accurate shots, but he also knows how to use them. Because of that, he was a consistent goal-per-game scorer whenever he played in his age group, and found ways to score at higher levels of play as well.

Furthermore, Kostin possesses excellent puck skills. He can carry the puck through traffic and deke around opponents at will. Especially considering his size, that stick-handling ability is highly impressive. The fact that he is an above-average skater despite his size doesn’t hurt either.


Where do we start?

Two major issues with Kostin are not actually weaknesses — they are just issues. First of all, he’s Russian. And right when the Russian factor was about to be considered a myth, Valeri Nichushkin and Nikita Tryamkin proved otherwise. Teams might still (or again?) be weary of picking Russians with high picks unless they are 100 percent sure that they’ll commit to playing in North America.

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Secondly, Kostin missed a large portion of the season after having shoulder surgery, which can have a serious impact on both stick-handling and shooting ability if it doesn’t heal properly. This injury might actually turn out to be beneficial for Kostin, though, as scouts might attribute his lack of scoring (two points in 18 games on various levels of play) to that hurt shoulder. Who knows.

As to legitimate weaknesses regarding his play, there isn’t much. Some scouts question his hockey sense. According to Grant McCagg of, one NHL scout doesn’t like Kostin because he doesn’t seem to make others better and doesn’t find enough ways to get the puck on his stick. Then again, Future Considerations’ profile quoted above reveals that others actually like his smarts.

Another scout, according to McCagg, sees some of 2016 draftee Julien Gauthier in Kostin — a power winger with weak hockey sense and a compete level lower than what you want to see from this player type.

Final Thoughts

The higher Kostin gets picked, the bigger the risk. If he was expected to be drafted in the five-to-ten range, he might deserve a risk score of five out of five. I decided to settle  two, though, as there really wouldn’t be much risk involved for the Canucks — if they consider him at 33, that is.

If the Canucks want to draft some talented prospects that are hard to acquire otherwise, Kostin might be just the right fit. Thanks to his major question marks, he could easily drop into the second round, despite still having top-five level upside.

Next: All 2017 NHL Draft Profiles

That said, Kostin could well be gone by the time Vancouver’s second pick of the draft rolls around. In my first mock draft of the year, I had Kostin going to the San Jose Sharks 19th overall, and that’s not the highest possible position. Wait and see, I suppose.