2010 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Kenneth Agostino

Welcome to the first of what should be several profiles of prospects that are eligible in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  I'll be frank, I don't follow prospects to the point where I can make any real statement about them.  What I can do, however, is compile what information is out there about the prospect and we can use that to form some kind of an opinion. 

The New Jersey Devils do not have a first round draft pick this year, so most of these profiles will be focused on who may - emphasis on may - be available at 38th overall, the spot of the Devils' first pick. Yes, it's a second round pick and recent history has shown that to be point of weakness for the Devils.  That's not to say no one good could be picked there. Hopefully, though these profiles, we can get a sense on what to expect.

This first one will not be a second round pick.  He is, in fact, a long shot - a mid-draft pick.  However, he is the highest ranked New Jersey high school hockey player available in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, according to Central Scouting Services (CSS).  I am, of course, talking about Delbarton's ace left winger, Kenny Agostino.

Kenneth Agostino - LW - 5'11" 190 lbs. - CSS Rank: 72 - Hometown: Morristown, NJ (Source: NHL.com)
2009-10 Team: Delbarton Green Wave - 27 GP - 50 G - 33 A - 83 Pts. - 40 PIM

If you follow New Jersey high school hockey, then you probably know the Delbarton Green Wave all too well. They're the powerhouse among the non-public schools in the state, winning three of the last four state championships.  Read on about Kenneth Agostino (he goes by Kenny too, so I'll be using that) after the jump.

Kenny Agostino was named State Player of the Year by the Star Ledger back in March.  Even a quick glance at the article shows how much he accomplished at the high school level in New Jersey:

Agostino's legacy is intact. He's not a player who burst onto the scene in his junior or senior year with some big numbers. His annual point totals were 32, 72, 74 and 83.

Consider that in four seasons with Agostino cruising up and down the wing and battling in all three zones, Delbarton posted a 103-7-5 record that included three Non-Public state titles, three consecutive Star-Ledger Trophies, four Gordon Conference championships and two Gordon Cup trophies.

Those aren't typos.  In a regular season of less than 30 games Agostino put up ridiculous numbers (50 goals!!) on a team who put up a legendary combined record.  He leaves Delbarton as the school's all-time scorer.  Needless to say, Agostino has been to the top of the mountain of New Jersey high school hockey and felt it was good.

In fact, he scored 4 goals in his final game as a Green Wave member in a 7-2 win over Gloucester Catholic in the non-public finals at the Rock this past March.  Here's a brief video from NJ.com covering the win, featuring #9 Kenny Agostino:

Delbarton wins the non-public hockey championship

Now that you've seen all of that, take a closer look at Paul Bruno's article which announcing his selection as state player of the year.  You'll find these two quotes, first by Agostino himself and the second from Delbarton head coach Bruce Shatel:

"I never considered myself a goal scorer," said Agostino, The Star-Ledger Player of the Year in 2009 who will continue his hockey career next season at Yale University. "At Delbarton, you have to learn to play in all three zones. You can't be a one-dimensional player and contribute to the team. We all understand that.

"Coach Shatel doesn't care about who scores the goals. Everybody must contribute sound play and just get the job done. I like to think when I did score, the goals came as a result of hard work from everybody."

...

"His ability to make plays was great," Shatel said. "He obviously came into this year on everyone's radar. He wasn't going to catch anybody by surprise, so to score 50 goals in the Gordon Conference while playing strong defense the way he did was amazing."

All of those goals, points, and wins; and what gets singled out? His defense. His defending was praised.  That's very heartening to read from both the player and the coach, in my opinion.  It shows that dominating at high school apparently hasn't gone to his head. 

On top of all of this, per Elite Prospects, Agostino apparently appeared in two games for the USA U-18 team.  No, he didn't go a tournament, but apparently he joined the roster while they were traveling to play schools.  This article about the U-18s 4-0 loss to Maine back in January notes Agostino pulling off a breakaway after a penalty.  No, he didn't score with the U18s but it seems to be an exhibition nonetheless.

Ultimately that leads me to what I'm sure will the biggest reason why Agostino is projected to be mid-day draft pick if nothing else: the competition level.  Agostino played and performed admirably on an excellent Delbarton team.  However, despite all of the deserved accolades and who Delbarton played outside of New Jersey, it's still high school hockey in New Jersey.  Generally, players coming right out of high school don't have a very good success rate in breaking into the NHL.  It doesn't help that he's not especially big (maybe he's still growing?) and coming out of New Jersey on top of that.

That said, he's not being completely slept on. All that means is that he shouldn't be taken with a high pick and he's a bit of a reach.  While there's not a ton of public information on Agostino's game as a result of being ranked so low, he did move up in the CSS ranks among North American skaters from 79 at midterm to 72.  Not a big leap, but if a group of scouts felt he was worthy of being ranked higher, it's still a positive.  Plus, he did get this brief mention in this April article on Toronto's draft situation by Lance Hornby. Though I would take it as nothing more than a guess that Agostino could be a third or fourth round pick. 

Therefore, I wouldn't be particularly excited if the Devils draft him. I really would like to see someone take a chance on the top high school player out of New Jersey. If that's the Devils, then as long as it won't be with a high pick, I wouldn't mind.

Regardless of who drafts him, Agostino has committed to Yale since March 2009 per NJ.com. I don't know much about Yale hockey, but the competition level of the ECAC will definitely be a big step up for him.  Hopefully, Agostino breaks into the Yale roster, establishes himself, and does what is necessary to develop his game. 

That's what I've found about Kenny Agostino online. Now I want to hear your take.  Is there anything I missed? Have you seen Agostino play locally and can offer an opinion on what he does and does not do well?  Let us all know so we can share the knowledge, so please leave your thoughts in the comments.

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