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Bruins Fans Shouldn’t Expect Much From Agostino

AHL success is a poor indicator of future NHL success

Calgary Flames v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

By now, most fans have heard that the Bruins signed the reigning AHL MVP, Kenny Agostino. How much does his AHL success really matter though?

Does the name Chris Bourque ring a bell Bruins fans? What about Brian O’Neill, Travis Morin or Corey Locke? No, well let me tell you why those names are important. They, along with 8 others make up the last 12 AHL Les Cunningham Award MVP winners. As shown below, NHL success has been rather elusive for almost all of these former MVPs.


Year Player AHL Team Pos. NHL GP Goals Assists Points
Year Player AHL Team Pos. NHL GP Goals Assists Points
2016 - 2017 Kenny Agostino Chicago Wolves LW 17 2 3 5
2015 - 2016 Chris Bourque Hershey Bears LW 51 2 6 8
2014 - 2015 Brian O'Neill Manchester Monarchs RW 22 0 2 2
2013 - 2014 Travis Morin Texas Stars C 13 0 1 1
2012 - 2013 Tyler Johnson Syracuse Crunch C 308 89 122 211
2011 - 2012 Cory Conacher Norfolk Admirals LW 152 20 42 62
2010 - 2011 Corey Locke Binghamton Senators C 9 0 1 1
2009 - 2010 Keith Aucoin Hershey Bears C 145 17 32 49
2008 - 2009 Alexandre Giroux Hershey Bears LW 48 6 6 12
2007 - 2008 Jason Krog Chicago Wolves C 202 22 37 59
2006 - 2007 Darren Haydar Chicago Wolves RW 23 1 7 8
2005 - 2006 Donald MacLean Grand Rapids Griffins C 41 8 5 13
Total 1031 167 264 431
Total w/o Johnson 723 78 142 220
Totals for LW 268 30 57 87

Bourque, you may remember was a high scoring AHL forward for the Capitals affiliate in Hershey, PA. Bourque, the son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque ended up bouncing around numerous countries and leagues before ending up in Boston via a trade for draft failure Zach Hamill. He lasted all of 1 season split between Providence and Boston, appearing in 18 NHL games. Despite his failures at the NHL level, he has consistently been one of the best scorers in the AHL year in and year out and continues to find success. The point being, dominating the AHL, for whatever reason, is hardly a sign of NHL level ability.

Ray’s son is hardly unique in being an AHL/NHL tweener, but year after year NHL fans get excited at the prospect of calling up or signing an AHL scoring leader, only to find that player’s skillset isn’t suited for the speed and intricacies of the NHL game.

Out of the 12 former MVPs, only one (Tyler Johnson) could be considered an average or better NHL player. If you go all the way back to 2000, which includes a total of 17 former MVPs, only two are above average (Jason Spezza, T. Johnson). Furthermore, if you look at the age both players won their MVP awards (21), you can see they found success at a much earlier age than Agostino, 25.

None of this is to say that Kenny Agostino can’t or won’t be productive at the NHL level for the Bruins. Frankly, behind All Star LW Brad Marchand, the Bruins are relatively weak, with only trade target Matt Beleskey and depth piece Tim Schaller on the active NHL roster. He may very well end up being a useful roster piece, but the odds of a 25 year old wing finding his NHL game entering his 6th professional season and after 4 years in NCAA hockey, are objectively slim to none. While defensemen and goalies are known to take longer to develop, forwards, and particularly wings, are not. The honest truth is, if a forward hasn’t made it as a NHL regular by 25, he statistically isn’t likely to.

Much like Bourque before him, it is much more likely Agostino ends his season in Providence, than him finding any real success on the Bruins NHL roster. The signing was low risk and likely worth the chance Agostino finds some success, but Bruins faithful should quickly temper any unreasonable expectations they may have for the newest Bruin.