2011 Free Agent Targets: Matt D'Agostini

The Sharks will undoubtedly be looking for for help in the forward department come July 1st. Although they will probably look to players who excel more in the defensive end than the offensive end, it's possible that the Sharks look to replace some of the goalscoring ability that was lost when Devin Setoguchi was shipped out.

There are a few interesting names out there, we'll touch on others like Tyler Kennedy and Jussi Jokinen today. Now, though, we'll t focus on one name that may grab some interest: Matt D'Agostini.

He may look like a Geico caveman without the hair, but D'Agostini's game is anything but ugly. He's a smooth skater with a nice shot, good hands and decent size for an NHL forward (6'0", 200lb). At just 24 years old, he definitely has some room to grow.

Last year, D'Agostini put up impressive numbers on a low scoring Blues team, potting 21 goals and 24 assists in his first year with St. Louis. Despite this success, the Blues management decided to let him walk by not providing a qualifying offer to the restricted free agent.

Like Tyler Kennedy, D'Agostini was unlikely to sign that offer even if it was made. After the year those players had, they were more likely to file for arbitration than accept the meager 10% increase on last year's salary (Accepting a qualifying offer would have meant a salary of $605,000 next year for D'Agostini). The Blues, expecting to be unhappy with that result, let D'Agostini test the waters of free agency on July 1st.

Their motive? Unclear. Could be a pure money play, or it could be the fact that D'Agostini has been so inconsistent over the course of his career. In 101 NHL games before this season, D'Agostini scored just 14 goals total. It's quite possible that last year's outburst was more fluke than flourish.

Still, D'Agostini was once one of the Canadiens' top prospects. At just 24, he has time to put everything together and build off a solid season last year. If he expects to be paid like an established 20 goal scorer, it's probably not in the Sharks' best interest to consider his services.

However, if he is agreeable to an affordable contract, he could be an option for San Jose. Still, the fact that he plays absolutely zilch on the penalty kill means he's likely not the team's first priority.

If the Sharks are looking for a young shooter who can play the role Setoguchi did in the top six, then D'Agostini is a realistic option. However, if they're looking to bolster their defensive skill amongst their forward group, he's not the ideal option.

Contract: Two year deal worth $1 MM per year.

Role: Plays on the first or second line as a wing, shifting Pavelski to the third line center role. Contributes on the power play.