MONTREAL - No one was more surprised than Matt D’Agostini when news broke of his call up from Hamilton on Wednesday afternoon. That was only the beginning for D’Agostini, who will make his NHL debut tonight against the Sabres.
“When I first heard about being called up, I didn’t believe it. I honestly thought it was some kind of April Fools joke,” admitted the 21-year-old. “But it was for real obviously and then my phone just rang off the hook with everyone I knew calling me.”
The Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer this season with 20 goals and 47 points in 70 games, D’Agostini was part of the Calder Cup winning squad that delivered an AHL championship to Hamilton last spring.
The gritty winger, who made waves at this year’s training camp by scoring a pair of goals including the overtime winner in a 3-2 preseason win over the Islanders, will get his first taste of NHL action in the place of injured Michael Ryder.
“Michael had tests done on his leg yesterday and we’re still waiting for those results. Calling up Matt made the most sense for us since he’s a natural right winger like Ryder,” said head coach Guy Carbonneau. “D’Agostini brings us some added speed and he has scored some big goals for the Bulldogs. Matt just hasn’t had the chance to prove it at this level yet.”