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M&G's Top 25 Under 25: #21 - Kenny Agostino

At number 21, we've got someone who was a part of one of the biggest trades in recent Flames history, and someone who will hopefully live up to his potential: Kenny Agostino.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On March 27, 2013, the Calgary Flames' world was rocked when Jarome Iginla was finally traded. It then got rocked even further. Initially, the Flames were supposed to be getting Matt Bartkowski, Alexander Khokhlachev, and a first round pick; instead, they got a different first round pick, and two college kids: Ben Hanowski, and Kenny Agostino.

"Who?" echoed throughout the city, turning the sadness from finally giving up Iggy into straight up confusion, because we were, after all, still Flames fans, and the return was pretty important... and pretty underwhelming. It was also pretty unfair to the kids Calgary was getting back, now suddenly linked to a Hall of Famer for the rest of their hockey careers.

Agostino is not going to be an Iginla, but that doesn't mean he can't turn into a helpful player. He's already gotten some NHL experience, and now, with one professional season under his belt, is looking like he may be useful yet. Probably not a star, but useful: and you need good, useful players to have success. Agostino remains in the plans for that path.

Rank Player DOB Draft 2014-15 team Vote total
21 Kenny Agostino 04/30/92 140th overall, 2010 Adirondack Flames (AHL) 40

History

Agostino came up through the US development program, absolutely dominating at high school. He became Delbarton School's all-time leading scorer, with a grand total of 261 points, before being selected in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL entry draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He committed to Yale University of the ECAC Conference, and so, the Penguins never signed him, as he would have lost his NCAA eligibility.

Agostino picked up where he left off, showing his offensive promise from his high school in New Jersey and extending it into the college ranks. As a freshman, he had a hat trick and a five-point game, and was sixth in scoring on the Yale Bulldogs that season as the youngest player on the team. Yale was the second ranked team in the ECAC that season, but fell to the eventual NCAA champions, Minnesota-Duluth, in the East Regional final.

In his sophomore year, Agostino picked up his points production, jumping to above a point per game. While no longer the youngest on the Bulldogs, Agostino did improve to the third highest scorer, and the only teenager to even reach double digits in points. Yale had a far less impressive season, though, and failed to make the NCAA tournament.

Things really picked up for Agostino in his junior year, though. He tied with Andrew Miller, three years his senior, for the team scoring lead, and helped Yale back into the NCAA tournament, all with the trading of his rights to the Flames happening in the background. Yale defeated Quinnipiac 4-0 in to win the NCAA championship that season, and Agostino scored an assist in the title game.

Agostino returned to Yale for his senior year. He suffered a drop in production, potentially thanks to the loss of some of his teammates, as he still ended up being second on the Bulldogs in scoring. Yale was unsuccessful in defending their title, not even making it to the NCAA playoffs, and with that, Agostino's collegiate career was over, and he signed with the Flames.

Agostino got in eight NHL games to end his 2013-14 season, scoring one goal and putting up one assist before the 27th place Flames ended their year. He spent his entire rookie professional season with the Adirondack Flames, putting up modest numbers for a first year pro, and leading the team in scoring - albeit with more games played than the second-highest scorer, Emile Poirier.

Stats

Strengths and weaknesses

Agostino is a scorer. He's been a scorer throughout his hockey career, consistently adapting as he moves up a level. He was elite in high school, he was productive in college, and he transitioned to the AHL seamlessly. Agostino has consistently been one of his teams' highest scorers, if not the highest, throughout all the levels he's played: a very good sign.

He's aggressive and wants to win, so he'll work towards that. The only real potential flaws with Agostino is he isn't particularly big - he has decent size, but he's not huge, and may want to better use what he has down the line - and that he just doesn't seem to be a high end player. He's got the potential to be effective, but not necessarily to be elite at the highest level.

Otherwise, Agostino is simply a well-rounded forward with solid leadership qualities and a will to win, who has yet to lose a step offensively every time he moves up a level.

Future with the Flames

Agostino's scoring isn't likely to translate to the professional level. He may have been a top scorer in college and the AHL, but the NHL is far less likely. That doesn't spell doom for him, though: the fact that he'll go at it hard night in and night out, and won't shy away from a challenge, means he may be able to make the Flames through a combination of talent and will, most likely as a middle six player.

Expectations for 2015-16

If Agostino has a hell of a year in Stockton, he could find himself being an injury callup for the Flames. Otherwise, the expectations are basically the same as last year, if not a little elevated now: be one of Stockton's top players and scorers, hopefully on a team that will make the playoffs this season. At 23, he's not old, but he should become one of the Heat's leaders.

Earlier on the list

#25 - Ryan Culkin // #24 - Hunter Smith // #23 - Pavel Karnaukhov // #22 - Garnet Hathaway