Of all restricted free agents (RFAs) and unrestricted free agents (UFAs) on the current Montreal Canadiens roster Andrei Kostitsyn is the most valuable.
Kostitsyn can nil afford, at least from Montreal's perspective, to test the free agency market. His strength really shined through while being paired on the top line with either Saku Koivu or Alexei Kovalev. Even worse would be losing him to a European club.
Even more magical for Andrei is the chemistry with his fellow teammate, and younger brother, Sergei. They both have tremendous skills, and together they bond like only a true family does.
The Habs need Andrei for his speed. He is like a young Kovalev - able to not only maneuver around more than one opponent at a time but to maintain control of the puck in the process. He will often beat you to the puck when racing for it along the boards, as well.
Of course there is a simple need - helping his brother learn both English and Canadian ways. French never hurts when living in the province of Quebec, either.
There have been rumours of a Russian team having interest in Andrei. Chances are, however, that Guy Carbonneau and General Manager Bob Gainey will try their hardest to get him to stick around, and for a long time at that. It may take the likes of a 5-year, $20 million contract, but it would be well worth every penny.
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