Can Sergei be consistent in his play?
Ok... Maybe it doesn't quite roll off the tongue the way it should, but Sergei Kostitsyn needs to show more consistency in his game if Preds coach Barry Trotz is going to use the talented Belorussian in more offensive situations.
For those of you who might not be familiar with Kostitsyn, he was a 2005 draft selection of the Montreal Canadiens and was traded to the Preds this season for the rights to goalie Dan Ellis and forward Dustin Boyd. Kostitsyn signed a one-year deal with the Preds.
Kostitsyn could not wait to get out of Montreal, where his older brother, Andrei, is currently playing on the Habs' top line.
Off-ice problems and inconsistent play plagued the younger Kostitsyn during his tenure in Montreal but there is no doubting his skills.
Kostitsyn played junior hockey for the London Knights of the OHL, run by former NHLer Dale Hunter, playing a predominant role in the Knights' success.
He was one of the runner-ups to the OHL Rookie of the Year when John Travares won in 2005-06, while leading all first-year players in points.
Playing his last season in London, Kostitsyn played on a line featuring current NHLer's Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks...good company indeed. The line was one of the most powerful in junior hockey.
Kostitsyn would finish third in Canadian Hockey League scoring and break the Knights' franchise record in assists with 91.
Now, with injuries and the fact the Preds have lost the last two games, Kostitsyn may get an opportunity to show his skills should Trotz decide to use him in a more offensive role.
Starting Wednesday night in Phoenix and continuing on through to Los Angeles and Anaheim before arriving in St.Louis (again) next Thursday, Kostitsyn might get a chance to show his worth.
As stated, Kostitsyn has the skills, but his lack of consistency is affected by his lack of drive and determination to fight through traffic and win battles.
More or less his on-ice attitude needs to improve, and that has come to be questioned.
The Preds' style of play is working hard deep in the offensive zone and supporting each other; that's hard to do when one forward is easily quitting on plays.
Sergei needs to find a groove and chemistry amongst the Preds' forwards, and coach Trotz could have Sergei play a little power play duty as well.
He is creative with the puck and has experience playing the point on the power play.
Cody Franson has filled in nicely in Ryan Suter's absence to injury.
The Preds are counting on a consistent, confident and focused Kostitsyn when that chance arrives; it might just be sooner than later.
Here's hoping this talented forward can produce more consistently...
Mike MacDonald is a Featured Columnist covering the Nashville Predators.