The New Jersey Devils announced yesterday they successfully claimed forward Kenny Agostino off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens. The 26-year-old left winger appeared in 36 games for the Canadiens this year. The Morristown, New Jersey native was drafted in 2010 by general manager Ray Shero during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was eventually traded in the Jarome Iginla deal and played for three different teams before his stop this year in Montreal. A quick glance at Agostino’s statistics may not grab your attention. However, do not be so quick to write the Yale product off.
Up until the beginning of this season, Agostino has primarily been an AHL forward. In 273 career AHL games played, he’s tallied 246 points. In 36 games with the Canadiens, he tallied 11 points (2g, 9A) and owns a -2 rating. He also likes to throw his 6’0”, 199-pound frame around, as he’s averaging almost three hits and 11:06 of ice time per game. These traditional statistics are not the thing that is the eye-grabbing aspect of Agostino. His underlying numbers are.
Agostino owns an expected goals (xGF%) of 54.28 percent. This statistic measures the volume of shots and the likelihood they go in when Agostino is on the ice. To give a comparison of how this number stacks up, this would be the third highest mark of any Devils skater. Agostino also boats a Corsi For (CF%) of 56.43 percent as a Canadien this year. This number is extremely impressive and in comparison to Devils skaters, ranks the highest.
Another aspect where Agostino excelled was zone entries. In a very small sample size, he ranked in the 70th percentile of the league in successfully entering the offensive zone, which is something the Devils’ forwards struggle with mightily. For comparison, above you can see a chart – courtesy of CJ Turtoro – which compares Agostino’s entry statistics and Drew Stafford’s entry statistics. As Devils fans know, Stafford has served in a fourth line role this year. This chart shows that Agostino is an instant upgrade to the Devils fourth line.
By no means should you expect Agostino to come in and serve as anything more than a bottom-six forward. However, he should be regarded as an upgrade in comparison to someone like Kurtis Gabriel or Nick Lappin. Also, since the Devils are out of the playoffs, it is certainly worth giving as many guys as they can the opportunity to impress. Overall, due to his possession numbers and physical presence, Agostino is worth a look. The worst case scenario is he serves as a veteran presence in the AHL. But until then, who knows maybe general manager Ray Shero worked his magic again.