The disappointing descent of Matt D’Agostini

Once upon a time, Matt D’Agostini was a player a large percentage of St. Louis Blues fans adored. While his popularity never reached the levels of a David Backes or a T.J. Oshie, D’Agostini was one of those guys you couldn’t help put root for on a personal level. Things were rolling along and D’Agostini appeared to be reaching his potential following a 21-goal campaign in 2010-11, but unfortunately the forward’s career headed downhill in a hurry soon after.

D’Agostini arrived in St. Louis in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens which sent Aaron Palushaj up north. Blues fans weren’t too happy with the deal as little was known about D’Agostini and Palushaj was a prospect many followed, but D’Agostini worked hard and made a decent impact all without scoring in his brief appearance with the Blues in 2009-10.

Skip ahead to 2010-11 and D’Agostini found an increased role with the club. In his first full year with the Blues, he notched 21 goals and 46 total points. Both totals were new personal records and it appeared that the Blues may have pulled one over on the Canadiens.

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have a happy ending.

The following season, 2011-12, saw D’Agostini take a massive step back. Expectations had risen, but he managed just nine goals and 18 points in 55 games. The skill and offensive output Blues fans saw in 2010-11 had all but dried up. Heading into 2012-13, it was clear that his role with the team was uncertain.

D’Agostini spent portions of 2012-13 as a healthy scratch. Ultimately, the Blues dealt him to the New Jersey Devils for a conditional draft pick. The D’Agostini era ended in St. Louis, but fans – like myself – continued to follow the forward, waiting to see if his career would bounce back after a couple of rough seasons. He suited up in 13 games for the Devils, but failed to make an impression. New Jersey allowed D’Agostini to walk at the end of the year.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were willing to give D’Agostini a shot, signing him to a deal worth the league minimum. He appeared in only eight games, scoring just one assist, before the Penguins decided to cut ties with him during the year. The Sabres claimed him, hoping he could provide a bit of depth and that the 21-goal campaign may just be one change of scenery around the corner. He completed 2013-14 with the Sabres, managing to tally 11 points in 49 games.

After his contract with the Sabres expired at the end of 2013-14, it was once again unclear where D’Agostini would skate. The answer apparently lies with the Swiss club, Genève-Servette HC of the NLA, who signed D’Agostini to a contract this past week.

All in all, D’Agostini’s descent has been both unsurprising and difficult to follow. His 21-goal campaign seemed a little too good to be true, but hope remained that he was just hitting his stride. In hindsight, it was a bit too good to be true and he ended up being passed around a few Eastern Conference teams before finding his services aren’t needed in the NHL.

D’Agostini has always worked hard out on the ice. It’s that quality that has made his descent a bit painful to see even after his time with the Blues came to an end. It’s possible we haven’t seen the last of D’Agostini in the NHL, but he has a big hurdle to climb and a lot to prove before another NHL team will come calling. At age 27, D’Agostini certainly has some good years left and it’s possible he’ll catch the eye of a different NHL club looking for a bit more depth up front in the years to come. Until then, here’s hoping for the best for D’Agostini.

David Rogers

About David Rogers

Managing Editor of the NHL blog Puck Drunk Love and Frozen Notes. Contributing writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback.