2022-23 Team: Frolunda HC J20 (SHL)
Date of Birth: May 20, 2005
Place of Birth: Goteborg, Sweden
Height: 6-foot-5, Weight: 214 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-year eligible
Kristian Kostadinski is a big, left-shot defender who knows his strengths and plays to them well. Playing to his strengths is one thing, but his ability to mitigate deficiencies in his game by proactively avoiding things he doesn’t do as well is also worth noting as it keeps him effective throughout a game. While he may not play a flashy brand of hockey, his ability to impact a game on the defensive end is something his opponents definitely take note of; even if it doesn’t always show up on the scoresheet.
At 6 foot 5 and 214 pounds, Kostadinski is a menace in his own zone and along the boards. He plays to his size and brings physicality to the game but doesn’t go overboard. He plays more passively than actively which may be a bit of a concern for scouts, but that doesn’t mean he’s ineffective. Though offense isn’t the name of Kostadinski’s game, he still has a good first-pass option for breaking out and is effective at finding open passing lanes.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
Teams interested in Kostadinski will likely be looking at him to clear out his own crease, be a big threat against the boards and in the dirty areas and ultimately bank on his upside given his size and instinct combination. There’s a lot to like about Kostadinski’s game and the prospects of him one day making it to the NHL are very real, given he can fully tap into his potential and hone in on improving in certain areas. Playing around your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses is a good way to showcase your talent, but once a player is drafted, teams often look to put players in uncomfortable situations to help round out their game and see if they have what it takes to make it to the next level. There are still one-dimensional players in the NHL, but only the transcendent talent can get away with severely lacking in certain areas.
Kostadinski has stay-at-home ability with the potential to be more at the next level if he can continue to improve his strengths while looking to round out his game.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Kristian Kostadinski – NHL Draft Projection
Kostadinski has the frame that scouts salivate over and the instincts and natural ability to be a player in the NHL one day. Still, while his ceiling may be relatively high, his floor may be what causes him to fall down the draft board. Kostadinski is likely to take a few years to fully develop into an NHL-ready talent, and it’s unlikely he’ll jump to North America any time soon; he’ll probably be drafted somewhere in the mid-stages of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, making him a candidate to go somewhere in the third to fourth round range. A team taking him in the 85-120 range is probably getting fair-to-good value for a player like Kostadinski.
“Teams looking to add a defensive “D” who plays with some edge will track Kostadinski closely this season. He’s a big body who knows his limitations and plays to his strengths. He isn’t likely to produce much offensively, but he is capable of making the first pass. Kostadinski takes pride in cleaning out his crease and making life miserable on opponents along the boards.” – Jason Bukala, Sportsnet
- High Hockey IQ
- Good first pass
- Strong at clearing out his own crease
- Strong checking along the boards
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Offensive impact
- Lateral skating
- Playing more actively with his skates and his stick
- Proactive vs. reactive decision-making
Kostadinski will likely be a stay-at-home defender who makes his living by playing a big-time role on a team’s penalty kill. He may go down as an unsung hero for his efforts, but the ability to lockdown a zone is still a valuable trait in today’s NHL. He’s likely to be a fifth or sixth defender on a roster if he continues along his current trajectory; if he can develop a better offensive touch and play more proactively, however, he could change the narrative.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 3/10, Defense – 6.25/10
Awards and Achievements
- Hlinka Gretzky Cup Silver Medal
- U18 WJC Silver Medal
- WJAC-19 Bronze Medal