Belorusian winger Andrei Kostitsyn will spend next season in Montreal after signing a one-year contract with the Habs. Kostitsyn is the first out-of-contract forward to re-sign with the Canadiens.
“Andrei Kostitsyn is an important part of our group of forwards, and we are happy to have agreed to a contract extension with him. As a player drafted and developed by the Canadiens organization, Andrei ranks year after year amongst our point leaders,” said Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier.
The 26-year-old may not always play up to the potential of a tenth overall draft pick, but Kostitsyn has proved a useful asset to the Canadiens. Now in his seventh season at The Bell Centre, the Belorusian netted 20 times last season, and grabbed 25 assists. He will earn $3.25 million, the same as last season.
Kostitsyn has shown glimpses of potential over the years, but has lacked the consistency to make him a leading part of Montreal’s offense. Despite not quite making it as a leading scorer, Kostitsyn scored twice during Montreal’s playoff series with the Boston Bruins.
It is likely to be a busy summer period for Gauthier and the Canadiens as seven forwards and eight defencemen could enter free agency. Two of Montreal’s top performers last season -Max Pacioretty and Ryan White are restricted free agents, while Roman Hamrlik, James Wisniewski and injury prone Andrei Markov are restricted free agents. Nigel Dawes and Dustin Boyd have left for the Russian KHL next season, but Hal Gill has signed a new deal with the Habs.