How Much is Matt D'Agostini Worth?
Prior to the 2010-11 season, not many fans around the St. Louis area knew much about Matt D'Agostini aside from the fact the Blues acquired him in exchange for Aaron Palushaj in March of 2010. Following the trade, D'Agostini appeared in seven games, scoring zero points with the Blues in the 2009-10 season, keeping expectations for the winger relatively low entering the 2010-11 season. Needless to say, views on D'Agostini changed in a hurry as he took off and became one of the team's best offensive weapons. Reliable. Productive. Valuable. Just a few words to describe D'Agostini's fantastic season last year. Injuries that plagued seemingly half the roster gave D'Agostini an opportunity to play a large role with the club - an opportunity he certainly made the most of. When the dust settled on the 2010-11 season, D'Agostini finished the year by skating in all 82 games for the Blues - a feat matched only by David Backes. This statistic is truly impressive given the wealth of injuries surrounding him, but D'Agostini was nimbly able to avoid any serious injuries just as he was able to nimbly pick his way through opposing defenses and provide needed, timely goals. D'Agostini went on to score 21 goals and 25 assists for a total of 46 points to go along with a +8 plus/minus rating. These totals are pretty impressive alone, but when you consider that coming into the season D'Agostini only had 14 career goals and 25 career points, it really puts things into perspective. To be fair, the 2010-11 season was the first full season that D'Agostini enjoyed having a permanent role night in and night out at the NHL level. His previous career-high for most games in a season was in 2008-09 when he skated in 53 games with the Canadiens. Here he posted 21 points with the club but his role was that of a third or fourth line winger, thus limiting his potential on offense. Last season the right winger was making a tiny, tiny salary by NHL standards, collecting just $550,000. The Blues enjoyed an enormous rate of return on their investment with D'Agostini, but now as he sits as a restricted free agent, the Blues must decide what to offer him following his impressive season. Obviously, he deserves a significant raise over the $550,000 he was making last season, however, you never want to pay a player based on just one season worth of data. Also, the Blues must pay D'Agostini based on the role he will likely fill in the 2011-12 season, or in other words, pay him how they envision him in the coming years, not on what he has already done. With players returning to health, one being David Perron (knock on wood), D'Agostini's role probably will shift back to what it was entering the 2010-11 season rather than what it was at the end of the year. Considering all the angles, what is D'Agostini worth? My opinion: It really is a non-decision to bring him back for one or two more seasons, but the actual amount of what a contract should be is tough to land on. I'm guessing the contract will fall somewhere near Vladimir Sobotka's contract (3 years, $3.9 million), but three years could be a bit of a stretch with two or possibly one year seeming more likely. It's tough to envision the Blues giving him much more than that seeing as the new contract for Patrik Berglund measures in at two years, $4.5 million. Berglund has more history providing offense while D'Agostini has truthfully only had one solid year to his name. I'd assume a new deal for him would be closer to $1 million per season than it would be to $2 million per season, but then again, the Blues have surprised me in the past. What do you think D'Agostini is worth? How many years and for how much?