Almost as soon as the trade for Matt D’Agostini was announced, the “we need offense… what is this?!!?!” crowd popped up. It’s nothing new, but it’s a bit old.
Of course, the first thing people are going to look at are numbers. D’Agostini’s numbers, at least this season, are not that impressive.
However, let me take you back just a short time… to the time that Steve Bernier was signed after being invited to camp.
Bernier, who has never scored more than 15 goals or 32 points in a single NHL season, wasn’t thought to be much of an addition. Would you miss him now?
Let me take you back to the time Ryan Carter, who has already set a career high this season with 10 points, was acquired. “Who the hell is this guy?!?” was something that was shouted from the Devils’ fan mountaintop.
Would he be missed now?
Building a successful NHL hockey team is not about loading up your team with four potent scoring lines. Can you win that way? Possibly, but it’s unlikely. You need a line like Bernier-Gionta-Carter.
You need guys like D’Agostini who, by the way, had 21 goals and 46 points in 2010-11 for the Blues and is still just 26 years old.
What did the Devils give up to get a guy like that? Nothing. That’s right… nothing. A conditional (4th or 5th round) draft pick is nothing until the player is selected. That player won’t even be selected until 2015. Oh, and the Devils got a 7th round pick back, so they basically moved down 2-3 rounds to get an NHL player.
Note: From Andy Strickland: “According to Blues GM Doug Armstrong, if the Devils re-sign or qualify D’Agostini the Blues will recieve New Jersey’s 4th round pick in 2015 as well as get their own 7th round pick back. If the Devils walk away from D’agostini after this season the Blues will get the Devils 5th rounder in 2015 while New Jersey hangs on to the Blues 7th round pick in the same draft.”
That deep into the draft, you would be very lucky to get a guy that will play for you in the NHL, and even luckier to get a guy with some potential, even if it’s small, to help your team.
D’Agostini is that type of player.
From the outside looking in, it’s sometimes easy to look at only the good (or, in the case of lots of Devils’ fans, only the bad) from a player that was just acquired, so I asked a few St Louis Blues bloggers and fans, people that have seen him play for the last few years, what Devils’ fans can expect from him.
Here is the feedback I got in return:
Jason Jones ( @Jason_Jar on Twitter )-
“Everybody loves him, he can spark the team with a fight or a hit at any time. He didn’t play much because he didn’t have a true role with the Blues. And he’s very, very quick and hungry for the puck.”
“I think D’Ags will help out with the scoring for you guys once he gets comfortable in his role. He had a clearly defined role in St. Louis a few seasons ago, and he went great guns. As his role has become murkier, he’s dropped off. I think if DeBoer tells him what to do, he’ll be fine.”
“Matt D’Agostini is a skilled guy who can really shoot the puck. He has a great set of hands, but his true asset is his speed on the ice. He had some trouble fitting into the Blues lineup due to his smaller size and weak play along the boards, but he can be a true asset. For what the Devils sent to the Blues, this is a low risk high reward scenario and I would make that trade any day of the week if I was the Devils’ GM. Expect a slow start as he has been off of his game this season, but once he gets rolling he could put up some decent numbers.”
Jenn ( @itsjuststarla ) adds-
“Despite not having big numbers posted next to his name, Matt D’Agostini has a great set of hands, never backs off of plays, and quietly adds to his point totals. D’Ags is also just what the Doctor DeBoer ordered; as a top-six forward two seasons ago, he tallied 46 points, just the offensive boost the Devils need. Matt D’Agostini plays with heart and intensity, has great hockey sense, creates great scoring opportunities and wants nothing more than help his team out. He had requested additional playing time with the Blues, however, due to the abundance of players coming back from injury, wouldn’t get much. I think this move will be fantastic for D’Ags and the Devils as it gives both parties exactly what they’re looking for.”
The more I read these comments and thoughts from fans of the Blues, one thing kept coming to mind: he sounds like a Devil already.
He sounds like the type of guy that is acquired in your typical under-the-radar move from Lou Lamoriello (Loktionov anyone?).
He sounds like he has the potential to be another Ryan Carter or Steve Bernier for a playoff push, and hopefully beyond.