Russian captain Klim Kostin (#24) fends off a Finnish opponent during the 2016 U18 World Championships. Kostin was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the first-overall pick at the 2016 CHL Import Draft.

Russian captain Klim Kostin (#24) fends off a Finnish opponent during the 2016 U18 World Championships. Kostin was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the first-overall pick at the 2016 CHL Import Draft.

Ice select high-end Russian prospect Klim Kostin at import draft

Kootenay Ice select C/RW Klim Kostin with top pick, D Nikita Radzivilyuk with 61st pick at 2016 CHL Import Draft

The Russians are coming!

At least that’s what Jeff Chynoweth, president and general manager of the Kootenay Ice, is hoping.

Chynoweth and the Ice held the first-overall pick at the 2016 CHL Import Draft, which took place via conference call Tuesday morning.

With the top pick at the annual international refresh, Chynoweth selected elite Russian prospect Klim Kostin, a 17-year-old forward who captained his nation’s entries at the 2015 World U17 Hockey Challenge and 2016 U18 Hockey Championship.

Kostin is eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and widely projected as a preliminary name to look for in the first round.

In addition to Kostin, Chynoweth selected another Russian, Nikita Radzivilyuk — a bruising, 6-foot-3, 187-pound blue-liner — with the 61st pick at the top of the second round.

“It’s a tough draft, make no bones about it. It’s not a level playing field,” Chynoweth said. “It’s very difficult to select players. Unfortunately, you’ve got to work with agents you trust and that you’ve had a rapport with over time. If you don’t, it makes it even more difficult.

“Everyone I talk to raves about [Kostin’s] potential. He’s a big man and growing. He has leadership qualities and possesses an offensive upside — all the things NHL teams look for in a big forward.”

Kostin has already caught the eye of the many pro scouts in North America, with TSN’s Craig Button listing the native of Penza, Russia, as one of his preliminary ’17 in 2017′ names to watch for next year’s NHL Entry Draft.

“Powerful winger who can beat defenders one-on-one with skill, but also drives the net and attacks to scoring areas with real determination,” Button wrote of Kostin. “Smart and not one-dimensional and can make a play off the wing and because he’s a threat to drive past a defender, he can take advantage of ice if they back off. Very good speed, quickness and balance and is very difficult to knock awry.”

While the selection of Kostin is worthy of excitement for Kootenay Ice fans, temperament of expectations is advised.

Chynoweth expects Kostin will report to Cranbrook and suit up for the Kootenay Ice for the 2016-17 Western Hockey League season, but as he reiterates after each and every import draft, nothing is guaranteed until you see a player walk through the door for training camp.

“We’ve heard that he will [report], but again, until you see the whites of their eyes, we don’t really believe anything,” Chynoweth said. “It’s definitely not a slam dunk. But I do think, from all reports from the people we’ve talked to, he will be coming over.

“We think there’s a good chance, but there’s no guarantee [he reports].

“He’s a world-class player and if he comes, he makes our team better immediately.”

Key in Chynoweth’s selection of Kostin is the fact the young Russian is represented by the same player agency that helped bring a former Kootenay Ice fan favourite to Cranbrook.

Rinat Valiev — a 2014 third-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs — is represented by the same agency now representing both Kostin and Radzivilyuk.

Valiev came to North America in 2012-13, first suiting up for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League, before being selected by the WHL’s Kootenay Ice at the 2013 CHL Import Draft. The native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia, promptly came north of the border and went on to be one of the most exciting defencemen to suit up for the Kootenay Ice in recent history, amassing 74 points in 107 career games in Cranbrook.

While the jury remains out on Kostin, there are fewer doubts in regards to Radzivilyuk’s intent to report to Cranbrook.

“Guaranteed 100 per cent,” Chynoweth said of Radzivilyuk. “He will be here for sure.

“There’s potential there. He brings a physical presence and he’s 6-foot-3 already. He likes to play physical, but his offensive side should improve as he matures.”

The addition of Radzivilyuk gives the Ice a second 1999-born defenceman, helping boost the organizational depth in that particular age group. Sam Huston (2014, ninth round — 198th) is the other 1999-born defenceman on the depth chart after 2014 first-round pick Griffin Mendel opted to take the NCAA route via the University of Denver.

Kostin spent the 2015-16 campaign with HC MVD Balashikha of the Russian Junior Hockey League (MHL). In 30 games, the skilled forward registered eight goals and 21 assists, good for 29 points alongside 74 penalty minutes.

He also added two goals and five points in six games at the U17 Challenge, before posting four assists in five games at the U18 World Championship.

Radzivilyuk, who is also eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, spent the 2015-16 season with Tyumenski Legion U17 where he collected three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 26 games.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of holes on our team,” Chynoweth said. “We couldn’t have gone wrong if we selected two forwards or two defencemen. We need help. These are just some more building blocks that we will need moving forward.

“Obviously we’re happy, but until we see them both arrive here in August then maybe we can get a little more excited.”

All 60 of the CHL’s member clubs were eligible to participate in the 2016 CHL Import Draft, though a handful opted to pass on selections in favour of retaining import players already on their roster.

The Ice selected forward Roman Dymacek (Czech Republic) and defenceman Mario Grman (Slovakia) at the 2015 import draft, but released both following the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, opening up space for both Kostin and Radzivilyuk.

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

Vendors and customers at one of the Cranbrook markets in 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Farmers Market updates operating hours for the summer

Markets will continue to run from 10a.m. to 1p.m. until October 30th

City council passed first reading of a text amendment to a downtown zoning bylaw that would permit the land use for a craft brewery. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Downtown zoning amendment allowing craft brewery passes first reading

An application is moving forward that will tweak a downtown zoning bylaw… Continue reading

City council deferred moving forward on a proposed development in Wildstone, requesting a meeting with the developer to get clarification on project details. Photo submitted.
Cranbrook city council debates proposed Wildstone development

Cranbrook city council held off on moving forward with a proposed apartment… Continue reading

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

at the library
What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

By Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Most Read