Introducing Ben Hanowski and Ken Agostino



As the dust settles on the Iginla frenzy, Flames fans are left with a hole in their collective hearts and a glimmer of new hope in the form of Ben Hanowski, Ken Agostino and a fresh first round pick.

I won’t lie, the Penguins return strikes me as underwhelming. In looking at previous big name rentals, most guys garnered at least one high-end prospect as well as a first rounder and perhaps a roster player. Calgary got one of those things.

Which isn’t to shovel dirt on the new kids already. In Hanowski and Agostino the Flames got a couple of players who might turn out down the road. They just aren’t the potential high impact kids one may have hoped fo or expected from moving a player of Iginla’s caliber.

With that said, here’s some background on each guy:

Ben Hanowski – 22 years old, C/LW

A former third round pick in 2009, Hanowski was a really big deal in high school hockey. He scored a record setting 405 points during his time in HS, crushing the previous mark of 378 points in Minnesota. That incredible offense never really translated at the next level, though, where Hanowski has put up merely good numbers with St. Cloud State of the WCHA. His career best in college was a team leading 23 goals and 43 points as a 20-year old, a high water he failed to improve upon as a senior this season (16 goals and 29 points in 34 games).

Hanowski is a bigger guy at 6’02", 200 pounds and is described as having good hockey IQ and a hard shot. Skating is typically considered his weakness since he’s not the fastest guy around. Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus describes Hanowski as having 2nd line upside:

He is a smart player who makes quick decisions, and who displays above-average playmaking skills and good awareness off the puck. Hanowski has solid size, protects the puck well and is willing to do the dirty work in the tough areas. His best skill is his high-end shot. Hanowski’s main issue is his skating, which isn’t horrible, but is certainly below average. He projects as an okay second line forward who is good on the power play. He should be turning pro soon, and as a 22-year-old forward, his transition to the pro game will be interesting to watch. For Calgary’s sake, they hope he can hit the ground running given he is an older prospect. They can sign him by August 15th, otherwise he become a free agent.

At 22 and with 4 years of post secondary under his belt, Hanowski should be about ready to turn pro, so the Flames will be able to test his mettle at the AHL level as soon as next October.

Ken Agostino – 20 years old, LW

Like Hanowski, Agostino tore things up in high school. He finished his HS career with well over 200 points and finished as Delbarton, New Jersey’s highest scoring player ever. Chosen in the 5th round by Pittsburgh, perhaps because he was a smaller player with just okay speed at the time, Agostino has been a bit more prolific than Hanowski in college with two straight seasons of a better than point-per-game average for Yale University.

Agostino has marginally better (more consistent) offensive results in college but most think he ultimately has a lower ceiling than Hanowski. Again, from the Corey Pronman link:

Smart and skilled forward although I wouldn’t describe him as dynamic, more above average in both areas. Even though he is fairly small (5’11"), he is a strong player who grinds out pucks in battles and he has a good on-ice work ethic. I have heard divided takes on his skating, with one source saying it is solid, and another saying it could use some work. I sit somewhere in the middle, saying he is average but could have a better top gear for a smaller guy. The soon-to-be 21-year-old winger projects as a third line forward.

Clearly Feaster and Weisbrod’s weighting of things like "character and smarts" played a role in targeting both of these players, as well as the organization’s new found fascination with high school prospects and collegiate hockey.

Obviously I have personally never seen either guy play, but from my research and talking to various people, it sounds like Agostino and Hanowski are at about the same prospect level of, say, a Max Reinhart or Bill Arnold – smart, versatile forwards who could become useful NHL players if things break right, but who nevertheless do not have a high impact ceiling. Those certainly aren’t terrible pieces to have, but there’s a non-trivial chance they will turn out to be little more than AHLers as well. 

Which is to say, the organizational chain that turned Kent Nilsson into Joe Nieuwendyk and then into Jarome Iginla won’t be carried on by either of these forwards. For the Flames to convert Jarome into a new franchise cornerstone, they will have to work magic with the Pens 25-30th overall draft pick in June. 

We’ll take a look at who they may be targeting at that point in the draft later this week and closer to the draft in June.

  • CanadianManiac3

    It’s too bad Jerome didn’t go to the Bruins but who can blame him for wanting to play with Crosby and Malkin. He seemed a little sad about leaving Calgary but also pretty excited about heading to Pittsburgh. Who can blame him as this current flames team is a disaster especially under feaster and his crew.

    • Stockley

      What’s your point? I’m well aware he chose the Oilers. The Oilers have something to offer him that Calgary does not; a young talent base to grow with, a chance to play in the big leagues and not have to worry about having to do an AHL apprenticeship. The Flames tried to sign him and he turned them down; because the Flames are a mess and no young player in his right mind would want to play for them right now given the choice. I expect Dekseyer will turn down the Flames offer as well and go play for a more stable franchise that fits his goals.

      • Brodie, who would be a comparable to Danny D, has had ample opportunity to play in the big leagues.

        I’m sure moving forward that Calgary has an opportunity on the roster to entice a guy like Dekyser with.

        At this point, yes, you guys have a much better, younger core.

        My point is I think it’s hilarious how you make Edmonton out to be such a desirable location for Free Agents.

        • everton fc

          Why do you find that hilarious? We are the laughing stock of the entire league. Complete joke and people are right in saying we won’t be able to get real UFAs in the near future. Laughing about it makes no sense…. Logic says the Oilers are going to be a powerhouse in 2-3 years. im not sure why you find that so hilarious. I think it sucks.

          Both teams have spent the last 4 years sucking and missing the playoffs. We suck just as bad! 4 years of missed playoffs, just like them. BUT, thanks to uncle Feaster we have zero to show for it. While we continued drinking the koolaide, they built a core of crazy talent and we squandered everything away and now are sitting looking down the barrel of a long gun. I got Oiler buddies and I’m pissed, cause I know I’m gonna be eating crow for many years to come.

          Feaster should be fired ASAP, and thinking its hilarious is just plain stupid.

        • Stockley

          Edmonton is a horrible location for free agents, has been for years. That’s why they had to overpay for Souray and resort to an offer sheet to lure Penner. My only point was that Schultz thought they fit his needs perfectly.

          Honestly I’d rather have this mess Calgary is in than the Oilers roster. Edmonton should be turning the corner by now but they obviously still don’t have it figured out. There’s still hope (albeit slim hope) the Flames rebuild goes smoother.

  • RexLibris

    The Flames are in a situation not unlike the one the Oilers found themselves in with Nylander and Heatley.

    If the franchise can figure out that it has nothing to do with the city and more to do with the organization’s future, then they should be able to determine some way of correcting that situation.

    The Flames have one thing to offer, and it is essentially the same thing that enticed Cervenka: opportunity to play as a result of roster positions. The strike against that is Hartley’s recent track record with young players.

    • BurningSensation

      All evidence to the contrary, the Flames got Hudler, Wideman and Cervenka to come here when neither Heatley nor Nylander wanted anything to do with Edmonton.

  • RexLibris

    Uncle Feaster making excuses today said this:

    The shortened preseason was tough for a veteran hockey club.

    Grandpa King did not get Iginla to sign off on the teams he wanted go to.

    Calgary has MORONS running their dog and donkey show.

  • RexLibris

    Iginla in a sense screwd the Flames over. Agreed to 4 teams and then refused to go.

    The Flames brass once again proved their ineptitude by giving Iginla a loop hole to screw them over by not making him sign off in writing on those 4 teams, which is common practice.

    Amateur hour again. First ROR, then this. And from a supposed lawyer at that.

      • Tommynotsohuge

        Who cares? What kind of fool would let something like that go to a decision, or any sort of ‘probably’ situation.

        Probably? He should probably be fired.

    • BurningSensation

      Iggy had a NMC, which means he gets final say on where he goes.

      Management and Iggy worked this process out together, get a list of teams, get a range of offers, present Iggy with his choice of destinations.

      Iggy didn’t ‘refuse to go’, he chose Pittsburgh.

      As for ROR, nobody; not the agent, not Colorado, not Flames brass, not the media, not even Kent, and certainly not basement trolls like you, had a clue that ROR would have had to be placed on waivers if signed to an offer sheet. Further, it was almost instantly matched, and it cost the Flames nothing. .

      I can’t imagine what it must be like to view everything through your hate-coloured glasses. Or perhaps you are Steve Tambellini?

  • Tommynotsohuge

    Just be glad we didn’t let him walk for nothing,guys. I’m glad we have these new faces and there will be a lot more to come. Brace for a few more rough seasons and then we will finally be able to witness another playoff battle of alberta

  • supra steve

    OK, here’s what I think happened. Iggy made it known that he wanted to go to PIT and ONLY PIT.

    Flames say, “you gotta at least allow us to hold mock negotiations with 3 more teams to strengthen our negotiating position”.

    Iggy says “sure”, so Feaster throws in BOS, CHI, LA.

    Flames use these 3 teams in attempt to improve their bargaining position with PIT, and in a last desperation move, Feaster almost signs off on the BOS offer in an attempt to get a sweeter offer from PIT. That desperation move probably failed, as no high level D prospect was included in the final deal.

    How did PIT know they didn’t need to sweeten? Loose lips, players talk, cat’s outa the bag, take it or leave it.

    • BurningSensation

      Right, let Iggy leave for nothing and then claim a washed up shoot-out specialist (at$3M+ a year) and another guy who cleared waivers rather than get two above average prospects and a top 30 pick in a deep draft.

      Let’s just say I am pleased you have no influence in running my favourite team.

  • gotommygo

    Nobody is pointing their fingers at the real culprit in this trade — Darryl Sutter. Perhaps it was Sutter that should have put the ‘list’ in writing — on Iggy’s contract.

  • Stockley

    I honestly don’t think this team is as bad as most people here think. I wouldn’t be suprised if they are fighting for playoffs next year or year after.

    Just remember how much easier it is being an armchair gm. Just because you think feaster should have gotten more doesn’t mean that he could. Just think if he turned down these offers and iggy stayed. Everyone would be saying we should of at least gotten something. Everyone would say fire him fire him.

    I still think feaster is doing ok. He’s getting draftpicks which is exactly what you all wanted now it’s not good enough.

  • flamesburn89

    By all reports, this year is a deep draft, so having an extra pick in the top 30 is extremely valuable. However, if the Flames finish around 6th or 7th, would trading their own first round pick and the Pitt pick be a good idea to try and get inside the top 4-5? There seem to be a couple of future stars up for grabs in the first few spots, and this is one of the only times the Flames are in a position to leapfrog into the top 5 by trading up, since they have the Pitt first rounder.

      • BurningSensation


        Given that the team has talked with J-Bo about his NMC and that the likely return on him in a trade includes another 1st (which would give us 3 picks), the latter two might be packaged together to move up in the draft, but I don’t see the point in moving from 5th or 6th to 3rd unless MacKinnon or Jones slips down a few notches (which could happen, if MacKinnon and Drouin go 1-2, then moving up from 6 to 3 to take Jones, might make sense).

      • Tonelli's Stache

        Agree that our #1 pick is not for sale in any circumstance. However, we still have a chance to acquire 1 or 2 more 1st rounders, especially if we utilize one asset over next year. Cap space. Eat a bit of salary on JBO & Cammi for next year & I can almost guarantee a few more 1st rounders & a decent A prospect to boot. That would be what, eating 4.0 mill of dead space next year when we are probably going to be struggling to get to the cap floor. Is that any worse than healthy scratching Sarich & Babchuk for most of this year. Get multi 1st’s & 2nds & use those & maybe some of our A-/B+ prospects like Reinhart & Horak, maybe Wotherspoon or even Broissoit & get another top 5 pick. Go all in to acquiring 2 top 5 picks & build around these kids, Brodie, Sven, Gaudreau & Backlund. We cant be fixated with screwing around pointing fingers at Feaster & King, we need these guys to hurdle through a an incredible window of opportunity of a great draft. The first step is done & that’s a huge step, similar to an alcoholic admitting they have a problem & start going for treatment. These next 6 days are going to have a huge impact on the face of this franchise for the next several years. Forget about whose running this ship now, the ride has already started, we need to get there now.

    • Clyde Frog

      I do think this is a real chance to draft a franchise cornerstone with our first pick. I’m not saying lose, lose, lose, but I think if we move some assets that have played their way into a position of real value, and acquire young prospects/draft picks, our results down the stretch will place us in a top-4 draft position.

      I’m not convinced that ANY team who is in that top-4 group will allow themselves to be traded out of where they are.

  • Derzie

    To the comment that the Oilers are ‘going to be a powerhouse in 2-3 years’, what makes that even a possibility? Are the weak links on the team going to get better? The top young guns are already doing their part. No one is addressing the weak part of the team and all hope is on the strong part (recent draft picks). Lose and pick is a not a plan. At least our morons in charge are doing things. Bad things for the most part but they are not standing pat and hoping for the best like one Tambellini. Still, King and Feaster should be fired immediately.

    • Parallex

      I scoff at that comment three years ago people were saying that the Oilers were going to be a powerhouse in 2-3 years… didn’t happen. They still stink.

      • Willi P

        Correct. Actually I think that the same 2-3 year powerhouse thing has been repeated annualy for the last 5+ years. Well, except this year when everybody said they were going to be a contender. With some “experts” picking them as a “Dark Horse”.

        • BurningSensation

          Exactly THIS.

          Edmonton is a total gong show, and despite the fact they have no fewer than five players every team would want they are still incapable of making themselves into a contender, or even understanding why they aren’t.

  • Clyde Frog

    So if one of the “prospects” isn’t in an entry level deal; why is he going to sign over going to Free Agency?

    I’m almost more worried about his skill/confidence if he signs…

  • Tonelli's Stache

    @ EricOG

    I assume you haven’t been reading the majority of the comments on FN this season regarding our team. It is not like we have been sugar-coating the situation we see ourselves facing. I haven’t heard many who felt we were even a ninth place team lately. We don’t really need you to ride your peddle bike into town and give us the hard facts about where we’re at. I assume you are an Oilers fan, and I’m sorry about that.

    @ Robert Johnson

    You basically challenged somebody to have the balls in this comment section to suggest that sweater #12 should be hanging in the rafters. Well, here I am. And its discussion for a day down the road when Iginla has retired. But yes, without question, no Flame should ever wear the number again.

    You don’t need to like Jarome, or like how he scores goals, or how he fights for his team, or how he wanted so bad to win a Cup for this city and fanbase, or how he conducts himself as a person off the ice, or how he is a role model to thousands of kids and adults, or how he is widely considered to be the classiest player in the game today…but I do.

  • Old Soldier

    Dont be pinning much hope on the draft pick. Since 1980 less than half of the 30th overall picks have played 50 games in the NHL. In fact the best two players drafted 30th overall are Patrice Brisebois and Sandis Ozolinsh. Other than those two over the last 3 decades the names of those drafted 30th overall are rather thin as you can see:

    Jan Erixon, Neil Wilkinson, Deron Quint, Dave Steckel, Jim Slater, Ken Solheim, David Bruce, Peter Douris, Adrien Plavsic, Josh Green, Jeff Taffe, Matt Corrente, Jen Johansson, Par Edlund, Jeff Harding, Rod Pasma, Chris O’Sullivan, Nikolai Tsulygin, Mike McBain, J-M Pelletier, Kyle Rossiter, Luke Sellars, Shawn Belle, Andy Rogers, Vladimir Mihalik, Nick Ross.

    There is higher probability that none of the 3 pieces the Flames got will ever play in the NHL than otherwise. That is what makes this deal very questionable to me, whether the fault lies with Feaster being in a rush and not waiting longer to drive up the price, or a sense of loyalty to Iginla that overroad any sense of getting a fair return.

    There is an ironic twist here, that it could be argued that Niewendyck got more for Morrow than the Flames got for Iginla.

    The last issue to me is that Howson was fired after getting 3 everyday NHLers and a 15th overall pick for Nash. What happens to Feaster after this debacle (on the heels of the ROR debacle) and before the Kipper or Bouwmeester debacle?

  • Old Soldier

    Looks to me like the Hockey Ops of this Org is bent on stocking the farm team with draft picks and staffing the big club with overpaid, overage and under-skilled journeymen on NMC contracts. Gawd it sucks to be a Flames fan!

  • gotommygo

    @ Kent

    ‘At 22 and with 4 years of post secondary under his belt, Hanowski should be about ready to turn pro, so the Flames will be able to test his mettle at the AHL level as soon as next October.’

    Hanowski’s team, St. Cloud State, plays in a regional semi-final game tomorrow and possibly the final on Sunday. If they lose either of these games, wouldn’t that effectively be the end of his NCAA career?

    If that’s the case, I assume he’d be available immediately. Or would it not be worth it for the Flames to sign him right away? Maybe they’d at least give him a PTO until the end of the season.

  • CanadianManiac3

    @ Everton FC

    Yeah you’re right that’s my bad. I meant Agostino.

    Also, Yale is playing Minnesota as we speak and the game is tied 2-2. If Yale were to lose Laganiere’s college career would be done and he would field offers from NHL teams.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    Do you work for the Flames? Because this post is pure apologetics.

    If the CBA was old and carved in stone and easy to read than I would see why you wouldn’t check. The fact that it’s new and confusing is exactly why you should check with the NHL.

    As for the trade, you ask the player which teams he’s willing to go to and then take the best deal offered. Flames didn’t get it in writing and Iginla screwed them at the last minute, KK even said next time they’d get it in writing, which is industry standard. So much for trust from Mr. Classy. You’re description is completely wrong.