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

    I hope that the addition of Hanowski can help pitch a good offer to his ufa teammate at Yale, Antoine Laganiere. This kid looks like a good player. 6″4 and 215lbs, uses his size to his advantage and he has excellent skating abilities. This Iginla trade may indirectly have gotten them 3 prospects if Hanowski can help get this kid on our side.

    • everton fc

      Thing is… Hanowski doesn’t play for Yale.

      It’s good to finlly read some fans calling for Feaster’s head.

      Modin… PL3… Butler/Byron… Jones (bust)… Comeau… Smith (coud have been moved when he had value)… McGrattan… McDonald when we have Taylor, who deserved and earned a shot (what happened to all the talk about merit, and earning ice time). I could go on and on, and I haven’t even mentioned the ROR disaster. Feaster & Weisbrod need to go. Clear as day. Ken King, too.

    • Stockley

      Signing these college guys and getting too excited is often an exercise in disappointment. Matt Gilroy was talked up like the next big thing. Ask the Rangers, Senators and Lightning how good he is. He’s still an AHL regular/replacement level player.

      I find it hard to get excited about college free agents. For every one of them that pans out you can find dozens who are minor leaguers.

  • icedawg_42

    I have no problem with anything Iginla did. That’s why you have a clause. My problem with this whole thing I guess is Feaster’s strategy of quantity over quality. This team’s problem for years is that it has a glut of 2nd or 3rd line guys, and a total lack of “Elite” level talent. Now grabbing for all intents aand purposes a 1st (barely) a third and a fifth. In other words a maybe and 2 ‘doubt it’s’

    • BurningSensation

      Given Iggy wanted to go to top contender the first rounder was always going to be late in the round, it’s not like Florida was in play.

      And do you believe for a second that Feaster didn’t try to get a higher end prospect? The market was what it was, and if the guys we landed max out as 2nd liners then we probably got as best we could.

      • Stockley

        Not to further beat the dead horse that is Feaster right now; but how much has the man done that really impresses you since he took over? The Erixon deal wasn’t bad under crap circumstances. Other than that? With the alleged ownership interference and stubborn refusal to accept this team is terrible they’ve set back an already crap situation another 3+ seasons. It’s not like Jay has the Midas touch and we can all trust in his vision. Every presser he gives is the same old lawyer talk, using semantics to try and calm us into accepting that he and his team are so much smarter than us.

        I for one am sick of the smugness given off by Feaster and Weisbrod. They really seem to believe they have it all figured out and the rest of us need to just shut up and wait for their brilliance to pay off.

        They’d better be right or this team is going to be looking worse than the Panthers all too soon. In a state of permanent rebuild hidden under a veil of denial and double-talk.

    • BurningSensation

      Chiarelli knew that it was Iginla’s NMC that was the final word. He can get as pissy as he wants, but it was Iggy’s choice to pick Pit, not Feaster’s.

        • SydScout

          There’s a difference, significant, in giving a list that Iggy WOULD go to and a list that he would CONSIDER going to.

          The Flames put in his NTC, it was Iggy only that could move his own goal posts to remove that.

          That being said, Feasting should have moved him before now. For Iggy’s sake which then would have flowed through to the team that he was propping up. I don’t wanna a won, I wanna #1

        • BurningSensation

          Iggy gave Feaster a list of 4 teams, Feaster got back three acceptable offers, Iggy chose Pit. Chiarelli should have offered more if he wanted to stand out from the crowd. Like, say, Malcolm Subban and an unconditional 1st.

          • BurningSensation

            Didn’t happen that way .

            Iggy gave 4 teams he would play for . Feaster accepted Boston. Iggy said no.

            There was an agreement btw Iggy and Feaster saying I’ll accept playing for these 4 teams. GM’s don’t go back to the player and say is that OK.

            GM is suppose to have the power to choose the team.

            Iggy had the power to give the teams he would accept a trade for.

            Iggy screwed Boston , probably because Feaster forgot to put it in writing.

          • BurningSensation

            I’m not sure what you don’t understand, Conroy was on the radio this morning and related the events as I described them. Iggy gave a list, Feaster arranged to get three offers out of the list (per Lebrun), Bos and Pit were he two best, Iggy chose Pit.

          • Stockley

            For a guy who has a lawyer’s education and background Feaster sure seems to miss the fine print a lot (ROR debacle anyone?) He doesn’t seem to be much of a negotiator either.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I don’t think the Boston return was really much better than the Pit return; the difference is like night and just-at-the-end-of-dusk.

    My issue is that I still have trouble believing Feaster couldn’t have gotten one of the Penguins’ defensive prospects rather than these two forwards. Doesn’t Maatta which one; I would’ve been fine with any of the top four guys on their list.

  • icedawg_42

    When I think about the return for Morrow..ugh…just ugh. Guess that second round pick…uh, sorry 30th overall pick was critical to Feaster. Did I say Ugh?

    • Couldn’t agree with you more! Yes he was under no obligation to waive his NTC…but he gave a list of 4 team…so you should honor that list.

      Like I said before…leaders carry their teams to championships…chumps grab onto someone else’s coattails to take them there.

      Glad this guy is out of the organization…hope he never comes back!

      • BurningSensation

        Im tire of the BS about Iggy being a great guy for waiving his NTC so the Flames could get something for him…he waived his NTC for himself only…so he could cheap out and get a cup win he doesn’t deserve.

        • BurningSensation

          So Sundin who doesn’t waive his NMC is selfish, and Iginla who does waive his NMC is selfish…which makes the unselfish move…posting ill considered poorly thought out rants on the Internet?

    • Stockley

      Why would a guy who can choose where he lands pick the Flames? They can’t offer him any more money than other team, the kid will get an entry level contract as per the CBA. Same as the Justin Schultz situation basically, only this time the player was never drafted and isn’t shafting the team that wasted a pick on him.

      The only way this kid picks Calgary is because he’s more or less guaranteed a spot in the lineup right away. It’s not like he has anything in his way regarding high-end defensive prospects. Given the way Hartley seems to hate youth and inexperience I don’t see the Flames having any luck recruiting ANYONE who isn’t a veteran. (Or a dancing bear like McGrattan).

  • Franko J

    Champions lead their teams to victory! CHUMPS go to teams to ride another leader’s coattails to victory! Good riddance Iggy. Thanks for 16 years of losing hockey! #OVERRATED #GoodRiddance GO BRUINS!

  • Franko J

    What is Feaster’s fascination with “owski” names? Mark Jankowski, Matt Bartkowski (speculated), now Hanowski.

    Interesting (and a bit of a relief) that Hanowski is considered the better of the two. I was sure it was Agostino.

    • Bartkowski is not speculation; he was confirmed (along with Koko) AND an unconditional first as coming to Calgary. Iginla torpedoed that deal.

      Completely unhappy with this type of return and can only hope that the extra contract space means the Flames get a roster player in the JBo trade.

  • everton fc

    Just heard Conroy on the FAN. He has seen Agostino play. He said he needs to work on his skating. He also commented that neither is a “blue chip” prospect.

    • Franko J

      Heard the same thing.
      What rang true is bearing down on the draft pick. The draft pick more so than the prospects is what will be talked about and compared to in years to come with the Iginla trade.

  • Franko J

    The process has just begun. The inevitable has arrived. Life as a Flames fan without Iginla.

    After next year no Kiprusoff.

    While Agostina and Hanowski aren’t listed a grade “A” level prospects, I keep thinking to myself isn’t up to the Flames farm system develop these two guys for the NHL?

    As well, the pressure on this scouting staff is now on. Let us find out if the Flames can actually draft an impact players with their two first rounders.
    If the team truly wants to change the culture and direction of this team, it all started yesterday (last night). However, on June 30, 2013 this is just beginning to something better.

    For the longest time this team revolved around two players. If this organization is serious about being committed to winning it should hinge around building a team.

    With Iginla leaving a big hole, from a team standpoint it is now time to fill it.

  • Mackinnon or Druin will indirectly be the WIN of moving Iginla.

    Iggy’s gone, and while we didn’t trade for our own pick, I think the Flames are going to fall apart without their captain.

    I see us finishing last & scoring the first overall pick.

  • beloch

    Khokhlachev looked like a better prospect than either of these guys, plus he’s a center! However, the bag-of-pucks packaged with him and the conditional first-round pick made that deal inferior. As an added bonus, the Penguins are freakin’ jacked now! This is probably Iginla’s best chance at hoisting the cup as a player.

    Let’s be realistic about the return though. Iginla’s roots are deep in Calgary. I doubt he’ll even bother flying his family out to the Pitt. When the post-season is done I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t immediately ink a new contract with Feaster. If Iginla scores some pretty goals in the playoffs there’s every possibility that Feaster might sign him for a one-season extension and try to repeat the rental process if the Flames don’t turn things around quick.

    Two mediocre prospects (good enough for top 5 in the Flames system!) and a late first-round pick are not a bad price for losing Iginla for about the same number of games that Backlund or Kipper were out for while injured! Had Feaster traded Iginla two years ago when he was red-hot and signed for 2 more years, the price would have been *much* higher. We’re just lucky Feaster finally decided to get *something* instead of abandoning Iginla in the press room to explain the team’s summer golf-plans to the media yet again.

    Feaster left trading Iginla until it was too late, so the return is too little. Live and learn, or just live and eat more burgers if you’re Feaster. If Feaster actually did learn something he’ll try to get a good deal for Bouwmeester *this* season. It’s a good seller’s market, J-Bo is looking like a stud who is actually worth his cap-hit, and he’s signed for another season. This is a guy who *will* bring blue-chip prospects back in return. If Feaster holds true to form, there’s no way J-Bo is going anywhere this season unfortunately.

    • BurningSensation

      Feaster didn’t trade Iginla, Iggy traded Iginla. His NMC gave him the power to pick his team, it was up to Feaster to get fleeced as little as possible.

  • BurningSensation

    Corey Pronman:”The Flames received two above-average prospects in Hanowski and Agostino, with Hanowski being the better one and Agostino being a closer-to-average prospect. The two players bring the kind of value you would expect from prospects who are older and who project as average NHLers—which isn’t a ton of value, but it is something.”

    So a 1st in a deep draft and two ‘above average’ prospects.

    I’m less underwhelmed than I was.

    • Fantheoilman

      Yeah I think the return is pretty middle-of-the-road, but I’m not super bummed out. Boston must not have thought too highly of the russian prospect (who’s name I can’t spell) if they had offered him up in two separate trades. I’m not saying he’s bad, but they probably see him a lot more than everyone else, and it looks like they viewed him as someone they could do without…

  • Michael

    The skating comments worry me about both guys.
    Flames prospect after Flames prospect has failed to make the NHL partly because of below average or poor ‘skating’. (or in Memisz case, little to no skating)
    Surely the Flames organization has learned that you can’t really improve or develop this aspect of their game. Another concern is why would you want this kind of a lower end prospect in a trade for an asset like Iggy. AHL clubs and below and full of these kind of players, not to mention a large number of lower end free agents.
    These are the type of players you trade low picks or other marginal prospects for.
    So far, Feaster and Weisbrod have failed to convince that they can judge hockey talent at any level.

  • RKD

    I’m very curious to see Iggy’s corsi post-Flames once the season is over.

    In regards to the trade, I’m not expecting anything from the two kids nor the pick. Ah well.

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    @ each and every Lames fan out there:


    It took a while, but you are finally here. Let’s see how much wandering you do

    • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

      Very Funny!

      Who will be the first in FN to suggest Iggy gets his jersey up in the rafters of the dilapidated ‘Dome.

      Judging by the reaction by the 20 or so guys that seem to be diehards here – I would hate to see what would happen if they ‘lost’ someone close to them.

      Not sure how long the mourning period will last but hey….it is Easter – a time of re-birth.

  • RKD

    Well a lot of people are complaining about the return but that’s human nature. Maybe the Flames could have gotten better return a couple of years ago, but we will never know. GMs really don’t want to part with their prospects. Why would any GM give up Saad, Frolik, Maata, Bennett, Depres, Subban, etc. you get the idea? Especially if Iggy doesn’t resign with their team they aren’t going to mortgage the future for a rental.Last year Feaster traded Reg for Bryon and Butler so I’m not really surprised about what we got for Iggy.

    As Kent has mentioned above, Hanowski is the highest scoring player in Minnesota high school hockey history. Agostini is the highest scoring player in Delbarton high school history. They seem to have struggled moving up to the next level, let’s hope they can improve as players.

    Feaster and Weisbrod are really high on U.S. college players, my concern is putting all your eggs in one basket. They should be drafting way more guys from OHL and QMJHL guys in my opinion.

    I still think Baertschi has the potential to be the highest impact guy, he wasn’t playing top 3 or even top 6 here. He needs to stay in the AHL and progress and develop properly and hopefully he can pay big dividends like Kadri is now.

    • mk

      Part of the problem many people have with the return is that they’d rather have one major piece coming back, not several lesser ones. Inevitably, quality of prospects (and quantity of picks) plays a major part in building a team.

      In other words, it is more important to get top talent for your team using prospects. Teams that win have drafted their core players. The complimentary players are signed and traded for.

  • Rubberbadger

    Welcome to the team guys.

    Khokhlachev was intriguing, but seemed very similar to Granlund and other small forwards we have. I personally prefer having that guaranteed first round pick this draft.

    I wish the return was more, but Iggy is 35, so I’ve been bracing myself for this. I’m excited to see what the next step is.

    • Fantheoilman

      I believe chiarelli said that it wasn’t a conditional pick at the pc today.

      would much rather have a high upside 2c than a mid upside 2w and low upside 3w, personally.