February 3, 1985 |
Navapolatsk, Byelorussian SSR,
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||216 lb (98 kg; 15 st 6 lb)|
|NHL Draft||10th overall, 2003
Andrej Alehavič Kaścicyn (Belarusian: Андрэй Алегавiч Касціцын; born February 3, 1985), better known as Andrei Kostitsyn, is a Belarusian professional ice hockey forward who currently plays for HC Sochi in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The media have nicknamed him AK-46, a play on his initials (AK) and player number (46) in reference to the Soviet AK-47 rifle. His younger brother Sergei plays for Avangard Omsk. Both Andrei and Sergei played together on the Canadiens as well as the Predators.
Beginning in 2000–01, Kostitsyn spent the first two seasons of his early career with Polimir Novopolotsk, competing in several leagues, including the Eastern European Hockey League (EEHL). In the summer of 2002, he signed with CSKA Moscow and moved to Russia. He split his time with the organization between CSKA 2 of Russia's developmental league and also continued to play in the Belarusian league with Yunost.
After his first season with CSKA, he was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, tenth overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Kostitsyn drew favourable scouting reports from his strong showing at the 2003 World U-18 Championships and was expected to be taken even higher in the draft; it is speculated that health concerns with his back caused teams to pass him over.
In the summer of 2004, he was invited to the Montreal Canadiens' training camp and signed a three-year deal with the club. He was subsequently assigned to the Canadiens' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, for the 2004–05 season. He scored his first goal with Hamilton in his first game, on October 15, 2004, and finished the season with 23 points in 66 games.
Midway through the 2005–06 season, he was called up by the Canadiens and played his first National Hockey League (NHL) game on December 1, 2005, but was limited to just one shift in an overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres. He was called up again later in December and scored his first career NHL goal on December 13 against Curtis Joseph in a 5–2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Kostitsyn had a breakout season in 2007–08, playing on Montreal's most productive line alongside Alexei Kovalev and Tomáš Plekanec. He amassed 53 points in 78 games and was joined by younger brother Sergei, who had been called up from Hamilton, midway through the season. Entering the playoffs with the Canadiens as the first seed, Andrei and Sergei both scored in their NHL post-season debuts against the Boston Bruins less than two minutes apart. They also both finished with eight points each in 12 playoff games. However, the Canadiens were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. On July 1, 2008, Andrei signed a three-year extension worth an annual salary of $3.25 million with the Canadiens.
Several games into the 2008–09 season, he suffered a concussion when he was checked into the boards by defenceman Kurt Sauer of the Phoenix Coyotes. Kostitsyn lay on the ice for several minutes before needing to be helped off the ice. He returned to the team after missing two games. In December, he missed another two games due to a minor leg injury, then returned to notch his first career NHL hat trick on December 27, 2008, in a 3–2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
On February 27, 2012, Kostitsyn was traded to the Nashville Predators for a 2nd round pick in 2013 and a 5th round pick in 2013.
On May 1, 2012, Kostitsyn and Predators' teammate Alexander Radulov were spotted at a Scottsdale bar at 5:00 AM the night before Game 2 of their second round playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes, thus breaking curfew. Both were subsequently suspended by Predators' management for Game 3. Said Predators' general manager David Poile of the incident: "What they did was unacceptable and the coaches and myself had to come to the plate and do the right thing for the team. It happened. It's really unfortunate. It's selfish behaviour and we'll just have to leave it at that."
Return to Russia
During the 2012 offseason, the Nashville Predators have made it evident that they will not bring back Andrei Kostitsyn, although the Predators later re-signed brother, Sergei. On September 14, 2012, Kostitsyn returned to Russia in signing an initial one-year contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL.
Kostitsyn represented Belarus extensively at the under-18 and -20 levels. He first played internationally at the 2000 World U18 Championships as a fifteen-year-old, but Belarus would struggle in the top division, finishing last. The next year, Kostitsyn competed with Belarus' under-20 team in the 2001 World Junior Championships' top division. Later that year, having been relegated for the 2001 World U18 Championships, Kostitsyn returned to record a tournament leading 14 points in five games within the second-tier to win the Division I championship.
Kostitsyn made his second under-20 appearance at the 2002 World Junior Championships and scored 3 goals to help Belarus stay in the top division. Later that year, Kostitsyn returned to the top division at the 2002 World U18 Championships, recording 10 points in 8 games and helping lead Belarus to a fifth place finish. Competing in his third under-20 tournament at the 2003 World Junior Championships, Kostitsyn recorded two goals and one assist, but was relegated with Belarus to Division-I for 2004. Playing in the second-tier, he notched five goals and ten points in five games to help Belarus return to the top division in 2005, where he scored five points in his fifth and final World Juniors.
In 2004, Kostitsyn had also made his senior international debut as a nineteen-year-old at the World Championships in Division-I. He scored six points in five games. The following year in 2005, however, he did not record a point in six games playing in the top division. Following his rookie season in the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2006, he played in his third consecutive World Championships and recorded five points in six games. At the 2008 World Championships, Kostitsyn managed three points in five games.
On December 23, 2009, Kostitsyn was selected along with his younger brother Sergei, Mikhail Grabovski and Ruslan Salei as the only four current NHL players to represent Belarus in the 2010 Olympics.
Regular season and playoffs
|2002–03||Khimik Moscow Oblast||RSL-2||2||1||1||2||0||—||—||—||—||—|
- "Andre Kostitsyn's Profile". Archived from the original on 23 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "Migration – Andrei Kostytsin: First guy in Montreal".
- "Campbell gives Sabres OT win against Canadiens". Sporting News. 2005-12-01. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "Trashers outsoar Wings in wild one". 2005-12-14. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "Canadiens re-sign forward Andrei Kostitsyn". 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "Concussed Kostitsyn out for Habs". CBC. 2008-10-20. Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "Kostitsyn hat trick puts Habs over Pens". CBC. 2008-12-27. Archived from the original on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins Game Recap - 03/22/2012. Nhl.com (2012-03-22). Retrieved on 2012-07-06.
- Chris Stevenson (2012-05-01). 'Selfish' Preds duo suspended for breaking curfew. QMI Agency.
- "Leopards contracted with Andrei Kostitsyn" (in Russian). HC Sochi. 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
- "Andrei Kostitsyn's Profile". Montreal Canadiens. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "Belarus names four NHLers to Olympics roster". NHL.
- Andrei Kostitsyn's player profile at NHL.com
- Andrei Kostitsyn's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Andrei Kostitsyn's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Montreal Canadiens first round draft pick