The Frenchman is one of those international players who, with the years, managed to make an everlasting impression on the KHL and became synonymous with the league. Stephane Da Costa is, as usual, leading his team in scoring and trails only Brooks Macek in goals. Moreover, he just broke the 300-point barrier — the 44th player in the league’s history to reach this milestone. Moreover, if he keeps on scoring at this rate, he has all the tools to reach the top-30.
The Motormen are currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference — Bill Peters’ men need all of Da Costa’s offensive skills to climb even further in the standings.
Early years Stephane Da Costa was born in Paris, France, on July 11, 1989. The Avtomobilist forward was born from a family of athletes, as his father played handball while his mother was a swimmer. Stephane is the younger of three brothers, with the other two, Gabriel and Teddy, currently playing professionally in Europe. However, the Da Costas decided to dedicate themselves to a different sport than what their parents practiced, ice hockey. Stephane promptly understood that he needed to go abroad to pursue a real pro career, and at only 17, he crossed the Atlantic to start playing in North America, first in the NAHL and the USHL. Move to pro hockey
In the end, Da Costa spent eight years in the USA and Canada. After his junior career, he played in the NCAA, and then he was signed in the NHL. After missing a selection in the Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators didn’t miss the chance to sign him in 2011 after a fantastic career at the college level with the Merrimack Warriors of the Hockey East. Once Da Costa finished college, he spent three years within the Senators system, ending up with 47 appearances in the NHL and 166 games in the AHL. As one could expect, he soon started playing for the senior French national team. He represented Team France at eight IIHF World Championships, most recently captaining the French in 2018 in Denmark.
Signing in the KHL After his contract with the Ottawa Senators expired in 2014, Da Costa moved to the KHL, signing with CSKA Moscow. The Paris native was excellent with the Red Army, scoring almost a point a game throughout the three years he spent with the team, but injuries let him down in the 2015-2016 and the 2016-2017 campaigns. In these two years, Da Costa only collected 48 regular-season appearances with CSKA. After his contract with the Red Army run out, he was injured again, and he then spent the 2017-2018 season in Switzerland with Geneve-Servette.
Return to Russia After only one year in Switzerland, Da Costa headed back to the KHL. In May 2018, Avtomobilist announced to have signed a one-year deal with the productive Frenchman. However, things won’t go as planned for Da Costa in Yekaterinburg in his first stint on the Urals. He had a superb regular season, with 48 (22+26) points in 58 games — the most since his first year in the KHL, when he produced 62 for CSKA — but he only scored once in the playoffs, ending the postseason with two consecutive game-misconduct penalties.
For the 2019-2020 season, Da Costa signed with Lokomotiv. This time, it was different. The veteran had another solid regular season, but this time he was the best for the Railwaymen in the postseason as well, scoring 5 (3+2) points in the ill-fated playoffs series against Jokerit.
After Lokomotiv and a second appearance in the KHL All-Star game, Da Costa signed with another contender, Ak Bars Kazan, where he scored 57 (27+30) points in 52 regular-season games. However, in the playoffs, the disgruntled Frenchman wasn’t at his best and signed back with Avtomobilist before the 2021-2022 season — this time with a two-year deal.
This time, however, things look better for Da Costa. He’s scoring at an even higher pace and has recently hit 300 career points — an excellent result to achieve in less than 350 games. Moreover, the Motormen have one of the best attacks in the league, and Da Costa is certainly a big part of this success.