Kostitsyn brings skill and size to Preds

The Nashville Predators hit a home run in resuscitating the career of young Sergei Kostitsyn, who has emerged as a top-line player for the Preds. Nashville GM David Poile is hoping he can catch lightning in a bottle twice. He made the first significant move of trade deadline day, acquiring Andrei Kostitsyn (the older of the two brothers) for a second-round pick in 2013 and a return of the conditional pick the Predators received as part of the Hal Gill deal.

There is no question, Andrei Kostitsyn brings the skill and size the Predators were hoping to add to their forward contingent. But whether coach Barry Trotz can coax more consistent efforts from the 27-year-old remains to be seen.

Kostitsyn, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has just 12 goals in 53 games this season. He scored a career-high 26 goals in 2007-08.

This is a seminal season for the Predators as they are hoping to sign defensive stalwarts Ryan Suter and Shea Weber to long-term deals. Suter can become an unrestricted free agent in July and Weber a restricted free agent. Both have suggested that their long-term decisions will depend on the willingness of the franchise to build a contender.

Poile appears to have done his part by adding veteran defenseman Hal Gill and then bolstering his forward contingent with Kostitsyn. Now all Kostitsyn has to do is answer the bell and reward Poile’s faith in the family bloodline.