Kenny Agostino reportedly signing with Philadelphia or Boston
I’m starting to think Ron Hextall and company pay attention to my annual AHL Free Agent Tracker and Big Board.
Last year, they went out and signed the free agent defenseman I had ranked #1 in T.J. Brennan.
This year, they’re reportedly after the AHL’s leading scorer and league MVP from last year Kenny Agostino – my #1 ranked free agent forward on this year’s big board.
Obviously joking here, but it’s without question how much emphasis Hextall has placed on fielding a serious contender with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate – especially in recent years since the team relocated to downtown Allentown for the start of the 2014-15 season.
The Flyers might not be big players in free agency tomorrow at the NHL level, but it could be a huge day for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Stay tuned here tomorrow for all the free agency coverage and how it affects AHL teams. In addition to updating the big board and our exclusive AHL team lists posts, there will be a live blog online tomorrow morning to keep the latest news at your disposal.
More on Agostino and what a potential signing with the Flyers means for Lehigh Valley after the jump.
Agostino the All-Star
Before fans get uptight about bringing in “another veteran that will prevent the prospects from playing meaningful minutes”, the Flyers potentially signing Agostino is simply not going to fall under that category. At all.
The 25-year-old Morristown, New Jersey native only recently completed his third season of pro hockey following a four-year standout collegiate career at Yale University where for one year he was a teammate with current Phantoms goaltender Alex Lyon.
Agostino ran away with the AHL’s regular season scoring title this past season, producing 83 points (24 goals, 59 assists) in just 65 games – finishing with at least 15 more points than every other player in the league despite missing 11 games at the AHL level while up in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues.
An AHL All-Star, Agostino competed at the Phantoms’ home rink – the PPL Center – in the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic, meaning he got a first-hand look at the facilities in Lehigh Valley – a major drawing point in terms of luring free agents into the organization.
Several players, both current and former Phantoms’ players – such as Will O’Neill and Mark Zengerle – mentioned how having a brand new rink, a passionate fan-base and high-class treatment across the board is a major recruiting tool come free agency.
This would be a huge signing for the Phantoms moving into the 2017-18 if Agostino does ultimately decide to sign with Philadelphia. Playing the left wing, he would fill an organizational need and instantly be a top line guy for the AHL affiliate.
With free agency officially beginning Saturday at noon ET, here’s a look at who the Phantoms have penciled in on their preliminary roster:
Goaltenders (2): Alex Lyon & Anthony Stolarz (both restricted free agents that were tendered qualifying offers before June 25th’s deadline)
Defensemen (9): Mark Alt, T.J. Brennan, Mark Friedman, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Phil Myers, Will O’Neill, Travis Sanheim and Reece Willcox (yes, it’s likely that one or even two of these guys will begin the year in the NHL – guys like Hagg, Morin and even Sanheim have a chance to compete for NHL jobs in training camp.)
Forwards (10): Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Cole Bardreau (RFA), Greg Carey, Tyrell Goulbourne, Radel Fazleev, Taylor Leier (RFA), Danick Martel, Colin McDonald, Steven Swavely (re-signed an AHL contract) and Mikhail Vorobyov