While the loss of captain Jarome Iginla may still be hard for Calgary Flames fans to deal with, they can take some comfort in knowing that the trade at least brought in some great talent for the future. Kenny Agostino and Ben Hanowski, the two prospects the Pittsburgh Penguins sent to the Flames in the deal, both helped their schools reach the NCAA Frozen Four this month, and Agostino’s Yale Bulldogs will play for a national championship on Saturday.
Hanowski and his St. Cloud State teammates were eliminated on Thursday by Quinnipiac. The winger finished his senior season with 17 goals and 31 points, his second-best numbers in his collegiate career. Agostino enters the championship game with 17 goals and 40 points, and while he is waiting to make a decision on turning pro or returning for his senior season, he should be a great addition to the Flames when the time comes. The Flames have also been watching 2011 fourth-round pick John Gaudreau develop in the NCAA this season. In the same year he helped the U.S. bring home a gold medal at the World Junior Championship, Gaudreau scored 21 goals and had 51 points for Boston College, and was recently named as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (winner announced Friday night).
On top of these two talented prospects, the Flames also get a first-round pick in the 2013 draft. With a depth that exceeds recent years, this year’s draft could add yet another piece to the puzzle that will be re-shaping the Flames for the future. Losing Iginla may have been tough, but the team may be better off in the future because of that trade.