The New Jersey Devils have decided to claim forward Kenny Agostino off waivers, meaning the Montreal Canadiens have lost another forward to the process. Montreal has already watched teams claim Nikita Scherbak and Jacob de La Rose this season. The Devils have sent Ryan Murphy to the minor leagues to make room, while recently acquired forward Dale Weise has been recalled by the Canadiens.
Agostino, a New Jersey native, will be reunited with the GM that drafted him in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. When Ray Shero used a fifth-round selection on the undersized forward he knew there was a lot of offensive potential there, but perhaps could not have imagined just how well Agostino would fare in the minor leagues. A former AHL MVP, the 26-year old Agostino has recorded 246 points in 273 regular season minor league games. Unfortunately that minor league success hasn’t translated to NHL opportunity, with 36 of Agostino’s 58 career NHL games coming this season with the Canadiens.
Still, there is little risk in a pickup of this nature for the Devils. Agostino is on a two-way contract that pays just $700K in the NHL and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Either he can contribute a bit for New Jersey down the stretch, or potentially becomes a deadline trade asset for a team looking for some depth. Montreal obviously couldn’t move him for anything worthwhile, but perhaps a showcase in New Jersey could create a market for the talented forward. Otherwise, it gives Agostino a chance to get familiar with an organization who may want to bring him back next season. There’s little doubt that he can help a minor league club, but New Jersey might also experience quite a bit of turnover through the summer given that players like Marcus Johansson and Drew Stafford are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.