After a near two-week stint in Boston for left winger Kenny Agostino, the Bruins have announced that he and goaltender Zane McIntyre have been sent back down to the AHL.
Agostino was called up by the club on Oct. 18, after Danton Heinen and Austin Czarnik were both assigned to the AHL club. Agostino’s play had earned the attention of the Bruins brass; he had been named the AHL player of the week after scoring 2 goals and 5 assists in the first three games of the AHL season.
The New Jersey native was only continuing business as usual from last season. With the Chicago Wolves, Agostino lit the entire league—he earned a league-leading 83 points in 65 games and was named the AHL MVP for the 2016-2017 season.
However, Agostino has yet to perfect how to translate his play from the AHL into the big leagues. Over his five games with the Bruins this season, the winger had only one assist—and it was in the first game he played in, against the Canucks on Oct. 19, which was a 6-3 washout.
Monday night against the Blue Jackets, Agostino only played 9 shifts, a major cut after he had been averaging 17.5 shifts a night in his first four games.
And he was given yet another chance at the end of the night. To no one’s surprise, the Bruins had acted too late, and found themselves in a tie-game that led to a shootout to determine which team goes home with an extra point. The B’s had just tied with the Red Wings for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with that extra point from going into overtime, and that second point was crucial. And to ideally take that second point home for us, head coach Bruce Cassidy decides to send out Kenny Agostino, pointless in the last four games, to score in the shootout.
He does not. The Bruins lose the game, one goal short. And as of Tuesday night, the Red Wings now have 13 points and hold the fourth spot in the Atlantic Division.
We can only guess why Cassidy decided to send Agostino out at all, let alone first. Agostino was three for seven in AHL shootouts last season, which is a solid 42%, but this is no longer an AHL shootout. This is against Sergei Bobrovsky, a Vezina winner and elite goaltender every year.
When asked on Twitter why he possibly thought Cassidy sent out Agostino, Joe Haggerty criticized the decision in a blunt and cheeky way. “I don’t know…” he said. “Maybe ‘I didn’t want to win this shootout anyway.’”
One can only wonder. At least now, Agostino can be sent out in AHL shootouts with more confidence than he would in the NHL.