Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Matt D'Agostini Autograph Card

I already had Marcel Hossa counting for #36 in my Habs Numbers Project, though if I decide to do something with the project later on (say, frame and hang it), I could keep my Hossas as a unit and trade it in for this card of short-term Hab Matt D'Agostini, from Upper Deck's beautiful 2009-10 Artifacts set (card #AF-DA of the Autofacts sub-set, signed on-sticker in blue sharpie), showing him in the Montréal Canadiens' red (home) uniform, with both Centennial shoulder patches:
The Canadiens made D'Agostini their 6th-round pick (190th overall) in 2005, hoping he would develop pretty much into what he became - a third-line journeyman who can spend some time on a second line should injuries occur but is at risk when facing top-notch opposition in the long run, say a full season.

Unfortunately for him and expectation thrust upon him, he lit up the net two pre-seasons in a row, forcing the Habs to eventually give him an offensive role on the team, which he didn't really live up to, with 14 goals and 25 points in 94 games with the team spread over three seasons, eventually getting traded to the St. Louis Blues for Aaron Palushaj.

As he is wont to do, he had a 21-goal season in his first full year in St. Louis, before disappearing the next with a 9-9-18 production in 55 games in 2011-12, and 1-1-2 in 16 games to start the (lockout-shortened) 2012-13 season and a trade to the New Jersey Devils in what was essentially a switch of conditional picks and a player dump; he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent last summer and yet finished the season with the Buffalo Sabres after they claimed him off waivers.

It is probably unrealistic and unfair to expect another 20-goal season of him, but I would rather see a relatively talented forward such as D'Agostini play in the NHL than some of the third- and fourth-line less talented goons currently gracing the league stands (and the Sabres' line-up, ironically). At the league minimum wage or up to just under a million per, this guy's a player who can even get some powerplay time come February when your top-two right wingers are injured - and produce a bit on it.

If not, I can see him getting 15 goals and 25 points in the KHL, or scoring 30 in tier-2 European leagues in Italy, France, Switzerland or England. He's one of those guys who is too good for the AHL, but barely consistent enough for the NHL.

He will be a free agent again this summer, and I wish him the best.

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