It took a little longer than originally expected, but today, the Montreal Canadiens have announced the signing of highly touted prospect W Andrei Kostitsyn to a 3 year, entry-level contract. As per team policy, complete financial terms were not disclosed. Under current CBA rules, the most Kostitsyn can earn under the rookie salary cap is $1.24 M per season, or $3.72 M throughout the contract.
“Andrei Kostitsyn is definitely one of our best prospects,” said General Manager Bob Gainey. “At only 19, he already possesses excellent hockey skills. We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Andrei that will allow him to continue his development in North America for the upcoming season.”
Kostitsyn, standing at 6’0 and 189 lbs, was selected in the first round of last year’s entry draft, 10th overall. Many analysts felt that he should have been selected higher, but frequent epileptic episodes caused many teams to shy away and take a “safer pick.” Last season, he split time between CSKA Division 1 and 2 in Russia. With Div.1, he recorded an assist in 11 games, with a pair of PIMS before being sent down. In Div.2, Kostitsyn lit it up, scoring 25 goals and 13 assists, while adding 28 PIMS in just 27 games. He also played in the World Juniors, World Championships, the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge, and the EEHL.
Kostitsyn recently took part in the Canadiens Development Camp, held in mid-July. It was there that he officially changed the spelling of his surname from “Kastsitsyn” to the current “Kostitsyn.” Many left the camp feeling highly enthusiastic about his potential, although there were some worries when he missed the final few days of camp for what was later said to be pre-scheduled testing by Canadiens’ Doctor David Mulder. Habsworld.net analyst Jake Wilson, who attended most of the camp, gave Kostitsyn an A+ rating based on his performance, which is very encouraging to Canadiens fans.
This season, Kostitsyn will get a long look at the Canadiens training camp, and should have a strong chance at making the team. If he doesn’t crack the lineup, or there is a work stoppage, he is expected to be assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he will be placed in a scoring role. Prior to camp, he will take place in the Canadiens’ rookie camp, which takes place from September 7 through 14 at the Sportplexe 4 Glaces, in Pierrefonds, QC.