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Blues' Kostin showing why he could be a beast in the NHL

It's going to be hard for him to crack the roster for the defending Stanley Cup champs, but top prospect Klim Kostin is turning heads in the preseason.
Credit: AP
St. Louis Blues' Klim Kostin, of Russia, waits for a face-off during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Dallas Stars Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS — If you've been paying attention to any of the Blues' preseason games so far this season, you're been hearing the name "Klim Kostin" quite a bit.

The 20-year-old former first round pick from Russia has been an absolute tank.

Through four preseason games for the Blues, Kostin has three goals and three assists. That's the most points on the team, and tied for second among all players in the preseason.

And have you seen any of his goals?

A slap shot, a hard drive to the net and a puck handling clinic that faked out two defensemen and the goaltender.

Kostin hasn't just impressed the fans, though. His teammates have taken not of his talent.

Watch: Ryan O'Reilly talks about phenom Klim Kostin

"He's been very impressive. He's an elite player with elite skill," Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly said. "Some of the plays he's made go above and beyond. Just great hands, and for his size too it's impressive how well he can handle the puck and shoot it. He's got some high end skill for sure."

O'Reilly is right about that size.

The 6 foot 3 Kostin is a physically intimidating presence. But he has the skills to back it up, too. In 66 games with the Blues' AHL affiliate in San Antonio last season, Kostin tallied 10 goals and 14 assists.

It's kind of amazing Kostin is even in St. Louis to begin with.

One of the highest ranked prospects coming into the 2017 draft, a shoulder injury forced Kostin to slide all the way to the last pick of the first round. A pick the Cardinals only had after sending Ryan Reaves and a second round pick to Pittsburgh for the Kostin pick and forward Oskar Sundqvist.

Watch: New Blues defenseman Justin Faulk talks upon arriving to St. Louis

That trade looks to be a steal, now.

Even with his hot preseason, Kostin might not end up cracking this Blues roster where most of the roles are already defined.

Everyone is kind of already slotted into their positions, with little wiggle room, even for a phenom like Kostin.

That's alright, though. At just 20 years old, there's no reason to rush the Russian.

In no time he'll be in a Blues jersey full time, scoring highlight reel goals and logging lots of hours at what he called his favorite St. Louis location. TopGolf.

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