Ashton, Carter

CHL Exhibition Update

In recent CHL exhibition action:

Richard Panik (2009 2nd) had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 Windsor exhibition win over Plymouth Saturday afternoon. Panik has three goals and five assists in his first two North American games. And he's not even playing next to likely 2010 No.1 overall pick Taylor Hall yet. Panik couldn't be in a better situation. He's playing for a coach (Bob "The Boogie Man" Boughner) and GM (Warren Rychel) who were both hard-nosed, disciplined players and expect the same out of their Spitfire players. As the defending Memorial Cup and OHL champions, and expected 2010 champion for both, the Spits will be in Canada's spotlight and have targets on their backs all year. They'll get everyone's A-game defensively. This should help Panik speed his development for NHL play. Finally, he'll be surrounded by players such as Hall, Ryan Ellis, and Cam Fowler, which means he has a very high statistical ceiling. This will be fun to watch.

Goaltender Jaroslav Janus made his exhibition debut for Erie Saturday, stopping 31 shots in a 4-4 tie with Niagara. Janus can return to Erie this year as an overager, though there was speculation he'd go to Europe or be signed by the Lightning and placed in the Central League or assigned to an ECHL team. It's good to see him back with the Otters, even if it's just to get work before Tampa Bay's rookie camp this week.

The "other" 2009 Lightning first rounder, Carter Ashton, had an assist for Lethbridge in preseason action Friday.

Matias Sointu, who is making his North American debut with Ottawa this year, has one assist through two exhibition games for the 67's. Sointu missed most of last season with an injury in Finland.

The Q opens regular season play this week, so look for BoltProspects' Game Night summaries to appear shortly.

Best Draft Since 1998?

It's almost impossible to beat the haul the Lightning got in 1998 (Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Dimitry Afanasenkov, and Martin Cibak), but I think the Lightning might've just completed their second best draft in team history. They already completed a first in history making a pair of first round picks on night one of the draft with Victor Hedman and Carter Ashton, so they were on their way already.

However, their second and fourth round selections really put this draft over the top. Richard Panik is a big time gamble, but he's going to a very good program in Windsor and will be playing for Bob Boughner. On pure talent, he could be even better than Ashton if you can get his head on straight, and he'll be in the environment in Windsor to facilitate that.

And, we love that Alex Hutchings pick. Absolutely love it. You got a hockey player who can play center or wing. Good skater. Good hockey sense. He can pass. He can shoot. He mucks well for a little guy. He just knows how to play the game. It's shocking he fell into the Lightning's lap in the fourth round, and in getting Hutchings the Lightning completed a very successful first four rounds where they got 4 of the top 48 rated prospects by THN and 4 of the top 60 by Red Line. That's in a deep draft, no less, so they got a lot of quality.

The goaltenders, Zador and Janus, seem like a reaction to Karri Ramo's defection. Zador's got to get playing time, but he was a first rounder in the OHL Priority Draft in 2007, so he's got raw ability. Janus made his name at the WJC's and had decent statistics for Erie this season. Because Janus was an overager, he'll probably only have one more year in junior. Zador probably gets two. You're just wishing and hoping one of them develops the way Ramo did when the Lightning took a sixth rounder on him out of Lahti.

I have a feeling the Lightning got some value out of that Gotovets pick. I'm guessing if his name was Johnson or Wilson, he might've gone a couple of rounds sooner, but teams are terrified of the KHL poaching their players. Yes, there's a danger if Gotovets develops he could be poached by Dynamo Minsk, but he's already taken the step of coming over to Shattuck and he already speaks pretty flawless English. I don't think you make that commitment and go to an Ivy League school like Cornell only to turn back around and go back to Belarus, and I have yet to hear about anything glaringly wrong with his game other than the fact he's pretty skinny. He'll be a darkhorse to watch over the next few years.

The only regret is that the Lightning didn't find a way to get an offensive defenseman or two into the system. That'll be something they'll need to look at next year, and they'll certainly continue to try to flesh out their forward depth. Getting Ashton, Panik, and Hutchings was a whale of a start, though. Very good draft. I suspect they get at least three NHL players out of this group.

Update:
Evidently, Janus would've gone to Russia to play in the KHL if he hadn't been drafted, and he wants to play pro this season and not go back to junior. That's an interesting problem for a Lightning organization that has Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski all but inked into the lineup in Norfolk next season.

Carter Ashton

Basics

Type: 
Out of Organization
Position: 
Right Wing
Shoots/Catches: 
Left
Height: 
6.03
Weight: 
216
Born: 
04/01/1991
Age: 
25
Hometown: 
Winnipeg, MAN
Acquired: 
Acquired in a trade with Toronto on February 6, 2015
Last Team: 
Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)
Projects As: 
Depth physical forward

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2009
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
1
Pick No.: 
29
Draft Team: 
Lethbridge (WHL)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Unsigned
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Eligible
Signing Date: 
07/16/2014
Contract Type: 
Two-way
Contract Length: 
1 year
Cap Number: 
$851 000
Contract Start Year: 
2014
Contract End Year: 
2015
Contract End Status: 
RFA
Salary: 
$851 000

Bio

Comment: 
becomes a UFA on July 1, 2016
History: 

Ashton is the son of former NHL left winger Brent Ashton, who played 998 NHL games split between nine NHL clubs. Carter grew up in several cities, but played his minor hockey in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

2006

  • Selected in the 1st round, 7th overall, of the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft by the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He appeared in two games for the Hurricanes in the 2006-2007 season, going scoreless and minus-1.

2007-2008

  • Ashton got off to a slow start his rookie year, going scoreless in his first eight games. His first WHL goal was scored December 12, 2007, vs. Calgary. He had two goals and three points against Prince George January 26. For the year, he would score five goals and nine points in 40 games. He missed three months with a broken collarbone. Ashton played in 19 playoff games that spring as the Hurricanes advanced to the WHL finals vs. Dustin Tokarski and Spokane. The Chiefs swept the Hurricanes 4-0. Ashton had one assist in his 19 playoff games.

2008-2009

  • Had a breakout season for the Hurricanes, scoring 30 goals (team leader) and 50 points in 70 games to go along with 93 penalty minutes. His season started off slow again as he scored just two goals in his first 13 games. He earned his first career hat trick November 16 against Edmonton. During the playoffs, Ashton had one goal and three points in 11 games. Lethbridge was swept by Calgary in the second round. Ashton failed to earn a point in the sweep.

  • Ranked the 12th best North American skater prospect by NHL Central Scouting and the 22nd best overall prospect by Red Line Report at season's end.
  • Selected with the 29th overall pick by the Lightning after the club engineered a draft night trade with the Detroit Red Wings to gain a 2nd 1st round pick for the 1st time in team history.

  • 2009-2010

    • Ashton had an impressive training camp with the Lightning following the draft, and rumors were he may end up staying with the Lightning. As it was, the Bolts signed Ashton and re-assigned him to Lethbridge after playing in an exhibition game.

  • Showed modest statistical improvement in the 2009-2010 campaign scoring 24 goals and 51 points in 65 games split between Lethbridge and Regina after a midseason trade sent him to the Pats. He started the year slow yet again, going minus-9 in his first four games (1 goal). He then went on a four game goal scoring streak. He had a nine game point streak when he scored 14 points (five goals), also. The February trade that sent him to Regina was supposed to help Pats star Jordan Eberle, but Ashton and Eberle never could seem to click to the level that was expected. The Pats missed the playoffs.
  • Signed to an amateur tryout contract (ATO) by the Norfolk Admirals at the end of his junior season, scoring 1 goal and showing surprising burst and strength, despite being the youngest player on the team.

  • 2010-2011

    • Played well in Lightning camp and in the exhibition season (two goals in two games) before being returned to his junior team. Even though he was close to making the team the previous year, new GM Steve Yzerman emphasizes playing time for prospects so Ashton was sent to the WHL.

  • Once again, he got off to a slow first month of the season with Regina, but eventually gained momentum, finishing with 16 goals and 27 points in 29 games until being traded to the Tri-City Americans where he had 17 goals and 44 points in 33 games. His final regular season totals were 33 goals and 71 points in 62 games. He had 23 multi-point games during the year, including two four-point nights. During a nine game point streak he accumulated 19 points (seven goals). He was acquired by the Americans to give the team scoring depth for a playoff run.
  • Appeared for Team Canada's Silver Medal winning team at the U20 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, scoring one goal and three points in seven games, primarily on Canada's second line.
  • Had 3 goals and 8 points in 10 playoff games for the Americans, who were eliminated in the second round by Tyler Johnson and the Spokane Chiefs.
  • Signed an ATO contract with Norfolk and appeared in 2 playoff games going scoreless in each contest as the Admirals were eliminated from the postseason by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
  • Scouting Report

    Scouting Comments: 

    "Carter is a solid prototypical power forward; he knows the game and really is astute at the power-play and penalty kill, offensive and defensive parts of his game." - NHL CSS Director EJ McGuire

    Strengths: 

    Ashton plays a meat and potatoes pro style game that should translate well to the NHL. He plays a solid north-south game and will go into the high traffic areas to score goals and make plays. He has a long frame that is just beginning to fill out and is exceptional at protecting the puck down low in the offensive zone. He is deadly as a finisher from anywhere below the dots in the offensive zone. In terms of intangibles, Ashton is a very hard worker who had the best VO2 max rating at the Scouting Combine in 2009.

    Weaknesses: 

    His offensive game is still in its infancy and he's just learning how to use his linemates to create scoring chances. As a consequence, he needs a playmaking centerman to truly be effective offensively.

    Projection: 

    Carter in still a work in progress, but the foundation is there for him to develop into an NHL power forward who will have a long and successful career. He may need one season in the AHL with Norfolk before that happens. His father, Brent, was a solid 25 goal, 50-55 point a year man in the NHL and the apple doesn't appear to fall that far from the tree. Carter projects to be a solid second line winger who will do the dirty work for his linemates and bang home 20-30 goals a season like NHLers Ryan Malone or Dustin Penner.

    Statistics

    Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

     Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
     2006-2007 Saskatoon ContactsSMHL41 28 3866 99|Playoffs3 3 58
      Team Saskatchewan CWG5 4 26 2|        
      Lethbridge HurricanesWHL2 0 00 0|        
     2007-2008 Lethbridge HurricanesWHL40 5 49 21|Playoffs19 0 11 12 
      Canada Western U17WHC-176 1 56 2|        
     2008-2009 Lethbridge HurricanesWHL70 30 2050 93|Playoffs11 1 23 15 
      Canada U18Hlinka Memorial4 1 23 0|        
     2009-2010 Lethbridge HurricanesWHL28 13 1326 52|        
      Regina PatsWHL37 11 1425 57|        
      Norfolk AdmiralsAHL11 1 01 6|        
     2010-2011 Regina PatsWHL29 16 1127 44|        
      Tri-City AmericansWHL33 17 2744 62|Playoffs10 3 58
      Norfolk AdmiralsAHL0 0 00 0|Playoffs2 0 00
      Canada U20WJC-207 1 23 6|        
     2011-2012 Norfolk AdmiralsAHL56 19 1635 58|        
      Toronto Maple LeafsNHL15 0 00 13|        
      Toronto MarliesAHL7 2 13 8|Playoffs6 1 23
     2012-2013 Toronto MarliesAHL53 11 819 67|Playoffs9 3 25
     2013-2014 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL32 0 33 19|        
      Toronto MarliesAHL24 16 723 30|Playoffs12 4 59 16 
     2014-2015 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL7 0 00 0|        
      Toronto MarliesAHL12 4 48 8|        
      Syracuse CrunchAHL29 3 1114 61|Playoffs3 0 00
     2015-2016 Torpedo Nizhny NovgorodKHL46 13 1023 61|Playoffs9 0 00 38 
     2016-2017 Torpedo Nizhny NovgorodKHL2 0 00 5|        

    Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com
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