2008-09: Chris Wagner skated in 38 games for the South Shore Kings (EJHL) and scored 20 goals with 14 assists. Wagner was third on the Kings with 72 PMs.
2009-10: Wagner was the leading scorer for the South Shore Kings in his second EJHL season. He posted 34 goals and 49 assists in 44 games for the Southern Division champions. Wagner had 19 points in nine playoff appearances. Wagner committed to playing college hockey at Colgate in 2010-11.
2010-11: Wagner skated in 41 of 42 games for Colgate as a freshman. The Raiders were one of the worst teams in college hockey for much of the season, entering February with three wins, but won 8 of their last 13 games and reached the ECAC Hockey semifinals. Wagner scored 9 goals with 10 assists and was -12 with 26 PMs.
2011-12: Wagner combined with Stars' prospect Austin Smith to give Colgate one of the most dangerous scoring tandems in college hockey. The sophomore scored 17 goals with a team-leading 34 assists and was plus-20 with 69 penalty minutes (also a team high) in 38 games. Colgate finished fourth in ECAC Hockey after a four-game slide late in the season but rebounded to reach the semifinals of the league tournament. Wagner signed a three-year entry-level contract with Anaheim in April 2012 – foregoing his final two years of college hockey.
2012-13: Wagner played for Anaheim affiliate Norfolk in his first pro season. Placed in more of a middle line, two-way role for the Admirals rather than seeing the prime ice time he saw at Colgate, he scored 8 goals with 13 assists in 70 games and was +5 with 65 penalty minutes. Norfolk was fifth in the East Division; two points out of an AHL playoff spot.
Wagner was a major bright spot for the Ducks among their NCAA prospects before moving into the AHL. The versatile forward has developed into an excellent faceoff man and otherwise learned the finer points of the center position, particularly on the defensive end. Offensively, he had a breakout year in 2011-12 with Colgate University in which he surpassed the previous season’s totals about halfway through the campaign. He does not shy away from physical play despite his modest frame. He has continued to bring the same level of intensity and determination to the AHL and had, by all accounts, a very respectable rookie campaign for Norfolk.
Wagner has quietly emerged as a nice little late-round sleeper taken 122nd overall. That sort of timely, linear development is always an encouraging sign. Wagner may develop into a scorer but his multi-dimensional game may give him an opportunity to make his mark with another specialty at the next level. His first year in Norfolk was a positive sign as he carried forth the same defensive specialty at the AHL that he did at the NCAA. He will probably continue to be seasoned in the AHL for now but Wagner has a skill set that would be useful as a defensive and penalty kill specialist in the NHL in the future.