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Preds sign Sergei Kostitsyn to a one year deal…

The Nashville Predators have announced that they’ve signed right winger Sergei Kostitsyn to a one year deal worth a mere $550,000.

Yes, that makes him $25,000 cheaper than Wade Belak.

On June 29, General Manager David Poile sent exclusive negotiating rights of unrestricted free agents Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Kostitsyn, a restricted free agent. Ellis declined to sign with the Habs and, once free agency hit, inked a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Boyd, on the other hand, did sign with Montreal. According to, Boyd’s deal was a one-year contract worth $650,000.

Kostitsyn has some offensive promise as he’s a former 131 point-getter in junior and, more recently, led Belarus in scoring at the last Olympics (5 points in 4 games). He hasn’t produced in the National Hockey League, however, because of his supposed attitude problem while in the Canadiens organization. Poile talked to the 23-year old winger on the phone to better gauge where his commitment was and, according to reports, a change of scenery might be all it takes for this kid to hit a switch.

The price tag might seem a little low for a player with “offensive promise” but think about the motivation for him. 1) He’d love to prove how he was treated in Montreal was a joke. 2) He’s making close to the league minimum so he’ll be fighting for a respectable paycheck in 2011-12. 3) With his bad reputation, he’ll know this is a chance to change all that and be a model citizen.

Poile, once again, has pushed the right button here.

As of now, he’s pegged to provide Nashville with a scoring threat on either the second or third line.

While Kostitsyn and Admirals defenseman Teemu Laakso have signed new deals, two of the biggest restricted free agents have yet to sign new contracts, however. Standout rookie defenseman Cody Franson and last year’s leading goal scorer Patric Hornqvist aren’t locked up for next season.