NEWARK, N.J. -- Right wing Matt D'Agostini is expected to make his season debut for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday when the team plays the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center.
The Devils conducted an optional skate at Prudential Center on Saturday morning, and though D'Agostini participated, coach Peter DeBoer was mum on who his newest acquisition would replace in the lineup. However, it's possible forward Krystofer Barch, who remained late out on the ice after practice, will be a healthy scratch.
D'Agostini, acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Friday, is looking forward to a new opportunity.
"It's kind of like a fresh start for me, so I'm looking at this as game one and looking to establish my game early by working hard and hopefully get some chances," D'Agostini said. "I'm best when I'm using my speed and driving the D-men deep, and creating havoc on the forecheck."
The 6-foot, 200-pound forward was acquired, along with a conditional 2015 seventh-round pick, from the Blues in exchange for a conditional 2015 fourth- or fifth-round choice. He had spent the past two-plus seasons with St. Louis.
If the Devils qualify or re-sign him, the Blues get the Devils' 2015 fourth-round pick and keep their seventh-round pick. If the Devils decide not to qualify or re-sign the 26-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, they'll get St. Louis' 2015 seventh-round pick and the Blues get the Devils' 2015 fifth-round selection.
D'Agostini is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer.
He said he doesn't believe the transition will be too tough, considering there seems to be similarities between the Devils and the Blues.
"The Devils are a forechecking type of team, which is what St. Louis was," D'Agostini said. "The main thing is they just want me to play my game. Creating chaos on the forecheck and creating turnovers is what the organization wants from me."
What most impressed D'Agostini during the Devils Stanley Cup Playoff run last season was how the depth players stepped up when the team needed them most.
"Some guys with not a lot of experience playing key roles and all winning teams need that kind of depth, and hopefully I can add to that," he said.
Now in his fifth NHL season, he's has 45 goals and 91 points in 254 regular-season appearances. In 2010-11, D'Agostini had career highs with 21 goals and 46 points in all 82 games with the Blues. He was a 2005 fifth-round choice (No. 190) of the Montreal Canadiens, for whom he played 94 career regular-season games.
"We had a lot of depth and a couple of bad stretches and the next thing you know, you're out of the rotation, but I got my chances in St. Louis and I really enjoyed my time there," he said. "This is just another chapter and I'm excited to get it."
He had one goal and one assist in 16 games with the Blues this season after beginning the year in Germany with Riessersee SC.
"To me he's a top nine forward, so we're going to give him that opportunity," DeBoer said of D'Agostini. "I talked to him [Friday] on phone and [Saturday] morning. He'll play right wing for now."
Here's what the lineup could look like for the Devils on Saturday night:
Adam Henrique - Andrei Loktionov - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Matt D'Agostini
Tom Kostopoulos - Tim Sestito - Steve Bernier
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
Scratched: Krystofer Barch, Mark Fayne
Injured: Henrik Tallinder (ankle), Alexei Ponikarovsky (lower body), Dainius Zubrus (left wrist surgery)