While it’s still unclear as to how forward Matt D’Agostini will benefit the Pittsburgh Penguins — because of his inexperience playing with the team — so far, he’s look highly ineffective.
And due to his lack of productivity, does he really belong on the third-line? Or better yet, why put him in the lineup at all right now?
Signing on with Pittsburgh this past offseason, D’Agostini was brought in to provide depth at the forward position — something they were desperately needing to add due to the losses of Matt Cooke, Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow.
Unfortunately for him, he ended up missing the first 10 games of the season because of a lower-body injury, and fell a little behind in learning the system. As a direct result, he’s been scratched, shifted around the lineup, and held to just one helper through six contests.
Nevertheless, head coach Dan Bylsma continues to pencil him on the third-line, in hopes that he’ll eventually snap out of this current funk. But despite Bylsma’s efforts to give D’Agostini more chances, the 27-year-old has yet to prove he earns that third-line winger role.
Continuity is something that just isn’t on D’Agostini’s side right now, and in the past four games he recorded a total of four shots. For a team that’s struggling to score at the moment, he certainly isn’t providing the opportunities to put points on the board.
As like the rest of the third-line of late, D’Agostini has looked ghostly out on the ice. Most of the time when he is, the puck is being wrapped around the boards and nothing positive is being generated. Point blank, it’s just difficult to evaluate what he’s doing well.
I said this earlier, perhaps it’s too soon to start judging his play because of the unfamiliarity with his teammates, but in Pittsburgh you have high expectations. When the team starts struggling like they are right now, specific players are going to be criticized because of the prolific talent the Pens’ have.
It’s not like I don’t think he won’t succeed, but there also might be a reason D’Agostini has spent the majority of his playing time in the AHL over recent years. In fact, if there was any place he can turn his game around it would be in Pittsburgh, which is partially why Shero probably signed him on.
At the conclusion to the 2010-11 campaign with the St. Louis Blues, D’Agostini racked-up 46 points (21G, 25A) in 82 contests and skated to a plus-8 rating. So his capabilities are there, however, right now he’s just not executing.
The team recalled forward Brian Gibbons from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this morning, and because I don’t see them splitting up the Glass-Vitale-Adams line anytime soon, he could be in line to play for D’Agostini tonight against Anaheim.
If D’Agostini is in fact scratched for tonight’s tilt, and the third-line starts producing, it might be time to find him another spot elsewhere.
The game tonight can be seen on the NBC sports network, and is set to start at 7:30 p.m.