Have the Sharks discovered a ‘big’ part of their rebuild?

SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks are having their worst season by points percentage in nearly 30 years. No NHL team has scored fewer goals — or given up more. They’ve had three losing streaks of at least nine games. Attendance totals have been among the smallest in the league.

It’s been a hard season for all involved.

But amid the carnage, the Sharks appear to have found another piece to build around. A big piece.

Winger Klim Kostin scored again Monday in the Sharks’ 4-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken at SAP Center, giving him eight points in 12 games since he came to San Jose on March 8 in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings.

Kostin, at 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds, is the Sharks’ largest player and fits right into general manager Mike Grier’s stated intention of building a team that’s hard to play against and in the opposition’s face. Certainly, Kostin hasn’t been afraid to throw his weight around, with 12 hits in his last six games.

“He’s a big player. He makes plays, he’s physical, he’s good around the net,” Sharks defenseman Kyle Burroughs said of Kostin. “Plays with a little bit of an edge, which is fun to see. He’s fit in pretty seamlessly.

“He (has some) stink to his game and a bit of snarl, and we like that.”

“I (don’t) really like big hits. I (don’t) really like to hurt guys,” the soft-spoken Kostin said. “But when the game goes that way, we’ve got to answer.”

Kostin had five hits Monday in a sometimes chippy affair with the Kraken. But he’s also showing the type of skill that made him a St. Louis Blues first-round draft pick in 2017.

After being used mostly as a fourth-liner thus far in his NHL career, Kostin is flourishing in a bigger role, as he’s playing with Mikael Granlund and Fabian Zetterlund on the Sharks’ top line.

In the second period Monday, Kostin showed his soft hands with a deft deflection of a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot that got past Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer, bringing the Sharks to within one.

“He’s a hockey player,” Sharks coach David Quinn said of Kostin. “He’s got poise with the puck. He’s not afraid to make a play. If he can’t make a play, he protects it. So there’s a lot to like about him.

“He’s a first-round talent and is making the most of his opportunity.”

Kostin, 25, certainly welcomed a change of scenery after he sat out eight of nine Red Wings games before the trade deadline – even if it was to the NHL’s last-place team.

“Playing with guys like (Granlund and Zetterlund), obviously you’re going to have some points, some goals, and some assists because they’re good players,” Kostn said. “I just feel alive again and enjoying hockey with the Sharks.

“Just want to pay back the coaching (staff for their) trust.”

Why do you feel alive, Kostin was asked.

“Ice time,” Kostin deadpanned, as he’s averaged nearly 15 minutes per game with the Sharks compared to 8:43 with the Red Wings.

“I really hope …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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