Much emphasis is placed upon NHL prospects showing promise but ultimately having success during their entry level contracts.
Many a prospect has gone unsigned by the club who drafted them, left to find another opportunity on a NHL two-way contract or even an AHL deal.
Kenny Agostino found himself in such a position after parting ways with the Calgary Flames.
A graduate of Yale University, the New Jersey native would be drafted 140th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010.
Agostino would barely catch a glimpse of Crosby, Malkin and company, as the Pens traded his player right to Calgary in the Jarome Iginla trade of March, 2013.
Having penned an entry level contract with the Flames organisation, Agostino would go onto make ten NHL appearances during his time with Calgary, netting his first goal against Roberto Luongo.
Despite producing the goods in the AHL for Calgary’s affiliate (38 goals and 100 points in 132 games), it was deemed that the left winger was surplus to requirements and not in the teams future plans once his contract had elapsed.
An opportunity with the St. Louis Blues presented itself, and Agostino signed a one year-two way deal this past summer.
The forward certainly put himself into the discussion for a roster spot with a strong training camp and some impressive performances, including a five point game in a 7-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Though having made the right sorts of waves, there was no spot on the Blues, with Agostino’s contract obviously making it easier for the St. Louis organisation to send him down, rather than other home-grown prospects like Ty Rattie.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock had plenty of positive comments about Agostino, who certainly hasn’t let the demotion affect him in any way. In fact, it’s probably motivated the 24 year old to strive even harder to achieve his dream.
The Chicago Wolves are the joint leading scorers in the American Hockey League as of the turn of the year and Agostino is a huge reason why.
Leading all AHL scorers with 43 points, his total is nine more than the nearest competitor.
Not only does he also lead in assists (29) but his 26 points at Even Strength is also topping the league.
Currently riding a seven game point streak, Agostino finished off 2016 with aplomb by netting four goals and adding an assist in a New Years Eve tilt against the Iowa Wild in Des Moines.
In eight of his last 18 games for his new team, Chicago’s left winger has registered multiple point efforts and will be a shoe-in for the AHL’s All-Star festivities.
With his points tally having already matched his rookie season, Agostino is on pace to not only smash personal records but to hit 95 points should he stay ever present throughout the regular season.
No player has touched the ninety point barrier since Chris Bourque (93) in 2011-12 with the Hershey Bears.
I’m sure Agostino would pass at the opportunity to attain that milestone should he receive an opportunity in the NHL to prove himself once again.