Ashton, Carter

CHL Game Night: 9/26

OHL

Windsor Spitfires 6 @ Owen Sound Attack 3
C Richard Panik, WSR: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (roughing)
Season Totals: 3 GP, 2-0-2, +1, 2 PIM

Panik had two goals in his opener, but has no points in two games since.

WHL

Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 @ Swift Current Broncos 7
RW Carter Ashton, LET: 0-0-0, -5, 2 PIM (hooking)

Not the return to the WHL Lightning first rounder Carter Ashton was hoping for.

Ashton Returned to Junior

Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times is reporting that in addition to the waiver move made with Radek Smolenak last night, the club has returned 2009 first round pick Carter Ashton to Lethbridge of the WHL after an impressive first camp with the team.

Crisdotero points out something interesting regarding Smolenak's waiver claim: the Blackhawks start the season in Finland this year and are in a situation similar to the Lightning last season when they started in Prague, Czech Republic. The Hawks have a handful of nicked up forwards and therefore are likely to carry a few spare players on the roster that won't be on the team after it returns to North America. If the Hawks waive Smolenak after they come back to the states, the Lightning will get first right to reclaim Smolenak. So, the Lightning may get the benefit of Smolenak getting a handful of NHL games worth of experience and retaining his services to boot.

The Lightning are expected to make more cuts tomorrow, presumably with a view toward leaving the bulk of the Admirals' roster in Norfolk before leaving town to continue their preseason slate.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/21 Senators at Lightning (in Regina)

The Lightning's lower liners and prospects fall to many of Ottawa's top liners in a neutral site game.

OTT-3
TB-1

Not much in the way of statistics for this one. Antero Nittymaki took the loss allowing 2 goals over the first 40 minutes. Riku Helenius allowed the Sens an insurance marker in the Third Period.

First Period
OTT Fisher 4 (Regin) 03:22

Second Period
TB Ashton 1 (Walker) 04:10
OTT Kovalev 2 (Spezza, Michalek) 07:45

Third Period
OTT Spezza 1 (Fisher, Karlsson) 09:45

Not sure about the accuracy of the box score we got, as the Lightning tweeted that the goal by Carter Ashton came off an assist by Steve Downie on a 2-on-1.

Box score from Yahoo Sports.

Tukonen Returns to Finland; Admirals Camp Set to Open

The web site of the Finnish SM-Liiga team Rauma Lukko is reporting that Lightning forward prospect Lauri Tukonen has left the Tampa training camp early and will be arriving back in Rauma on Saturday in time to participate in team drills on Monday. Tukonen, while not yet reassigned to Norfolk, failed to make the team roster for either of the Lightning's first two exhibition games. The Lightning signed the former LA Kings 1st round pick to a one-year, two-way contract on July 16, but his contract reportedly has a European out-clause allowing the winger to return to Lukko instead of reporting to Norfolk.

Open roster slots on the Tampa forward lines are heavily contested and the competition apparently has gotten even tougher with head coach Rick Tocchet quoted as saying today that 2009 1st round pick Carter Ashton "has shown enough that he could stay. He's done everything asked of him." Ashton will make his NHL debut tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers in Tampa's only home pre-season match, and he is expected to start on Tampa's top line alongside Vincent Lecavalier and free agent acquisition Alex Tanguay.

Meanwhile, the Norfolk Admirals have announced that their 2009 training camp will open Wednesday, September 23 with the scheduled Admirals vs. Lightning exhibition match two days later on Friday at the Scope. Admirals GM Mike Butters announced that the following free agents will attend training camp: D Ben Wright, D Trevor Hendrikx, C Ryan McDonald, C Travis Whitehead, former Lightning prospect LW Justin Keller, RW Matt Dias, RW Stephen Werner, RW Erick Lizon, RW Chaz Johnson and RW Tommy Goebel. These free agents will join Lightning prospects Kevin Quick, Scott Jackson, Chris Lawrence, and Mitch Fadden who were assigned to Admirals yesterday from the Tampa training camp. Other Lightning players will join the Admirals camp as the Tampa staff continue to trim down the NHL roster.

The Admirals will hold on-ice practice sessions at The Scope next week. Beginning on Thursday, September 24, all weekday on-ice practices will be open to the public. Wednesday’s training camp testing sessions and all weekend practices will be closed to the public. The Admiral camp schedule is as follows:

Prospects and Stars to Highlight Lightning Pre-Season Home Opener

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune has released the roster for the Tampa Bay Lightning's only pre-season home game Friday night against the Atlanta Thrashers. 2009 1st round draft picks Victor Hedman and Carter Ashton highlight six prospects that will get important starts in a star-filled lineup in front of an expectant home crowd. After playing 27+ minutes against Dallas Wednesday night, Hedman will get a chance to showcase why he was the #2 overall pick this summer. Ashton will line up on right wing alongside franchise center Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay on what presumes to be Tampa's top line. A heady start for the young power forward whom most believe is headed back Lethbridge for one more year of juniors. Forwards Paul Szczechura, Richard Panik and Blair Jones get their second consecutive starts after playing Wednesday against the Stars. Jones tallied the go-ahead goal in the third period before the Bolts succumbed to a shootout loss. Prospect goaltender phenom Dustin Tokarski will relieve Mike Smith for the third period and demonstrate to the home crowd as to why he won the 2008 Memorial Cup.

The expected forward lines for Friday's game are:

Alex Tanguay - Vincent Lecavalier - Carter Ashton
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Stephane Veilleux - Paul Szczechura - Richard Panik
Zenon Konopka - Ryan Craig - Blair Jones

Joining Hedman on the blueline for a second straight game are David Hale, Kurtis Foster, and Mike Lundin. Mattias Ohlund will be making his Lightning debut and Lukas Krajicek rounds out the Bolt defensive corps. Joining Tokarski in net is Lightning #1 goalie Mike Smith in his first game action since a concussion prematurely ended his 2008-09 season.

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