The season is still young, but the struggle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference is incredibly tight. If the teams in the top-4 have some advantage in terms of points, only four points separate the fifth (Spartak) from the last (HC Sochi) seed in the West. Despite moving a few times between East and West, the Nizhny Novgorod franchise reached the postseason in each of the latest eight KHL seasons, and it will undoubtedly try to make it nine in a row. One of the best offseason moves by Torpedo was inking Kenny Agostino. The 29-years-old forward is currently leading the team in points and all the team’s forwards in the +/- department with a plus-5 differential. In the Sep 27 Torpedo 5:2 win over Traktor, Agostino netted his first KHL hat-trick, including the game-winner, and added a helper for an incredible four-point performance.
Kenny Agostino was born in New Jersey on Apr 30, 1992, and played most of his junior hockey in that state before lining up for the USNDP in 2010. In that same year, following a successful career at the high-school level, Agostino was drafted in the NHL by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round.
Following that big event, Agostino committed to play college hockey for Yale University. He was one of the top players for the Bulldogs, where he played alongside former Kunlun Red Star forward Andrew Miller. In 2013, Agostino and the Bulldogs won the NCAA national championship — the first time ever for Yale — but right before the Frozen Four started the Penguins moved his rights to the Calgary Flames.
After a successful collegiate career with Yale, Agostino signed an entry-level deal with the Flames as he debuted in the NHL during the 2013-2014 season, scoring also his first goals as a pro.
However, he was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Flames and joined the St. Louis Blues in 2016 summer. With the Chicago Wolves — the Blues’ affiliate in the AHL — he won the league’s scoring race and was awarded the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s MVP. Agostino scored 83 (24+59) points for the Wolves and that was his best season to date. After signing with several other NHL teams, including scoring 13 (4+9) points in 27 games for the New Jersey Devils in 2019, Agostino however decided to pursue a career abroad and signed with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL.
“We were lucky to have had a chance to sign a player of Kenny Agostino’s caliber,” Torpedo GM Maxim Gafurov said, announcing his new signing. “Just a couple of years ago, he regularly scored points in the NHL, and his stats in the AHL talk aloud. He’s a great offensive player with a high hockey IQ who can constantly create chances for himself and his linemates.”
And what Gafurov said proved true as Agostino quickly adapted to his new reality. The 29-years-old forward was left scoreless in his first KHL official game, but he scored his first KHL goal at the second attempt, on Sep 5, when Torpedo won 1-3 in Kazan. With the guests on a double man advantage, Agostino one-timed a pass by Marek Hrivik from the right circle, sending the puck right in that tiny space between the crossbar and Igor Bobkov’s left shoulder. Agostino’s tally was the game-winner for David Nemirovsky’s men. After that, the forward’s season built into a crescendo, culminating with his four-point thumping of Traktor. Moreover, Agostino is also playing a very disciplined game, staying off the sin bin so far. Considering that he only played 11 KHL, it looks like the best is yet to come for Agostino, and Torpedo will battle fiercely to reach the postseason for the ninth straight time.