24-Year-Old Right Wing – Free Agent
Carter Ashton Contract Information:
Signed with Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL in July 2015.
Ashton has signed with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports.
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Carter Ashton: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Ashton has a shot as the Leafs' 13th forward this year, but he'll need a huge training camp to do it. He regressed last year in the AHL, tallying just half of the points he had in his previous year in the same league (38). Sure he has that beloved "net drive" that Leafs' coach Randy Carlyle adores. But we're skeptical -- he couldn't grow his game while playing under player developer extraordinaire, Dallas Eakins (now in Edmonton). He's a long shot, at best, and one who may never be more than a journeyman.
Ashton looked overwhelmed during his late-season cup of coffee with the Leafs last year. But there were a few hints of the skills -- particularly his net drive -- that showed why the Leafs picked him up in a deadline trade with Tampa Bay. Right now, he's all about that proverbial "potential." But that's Ryan Malone type of potential, and there's real fantasy value in that. His NHL career won't start for a couple seasons. Keeper leaguers should wait on him before giving him a roster spot.
Your guess is as good as ours when it comes to Johnny Every Line's career trajectory. Ashton will be an NHL regular some day but it remains to be seen if he'll be a top-line guy or just another second or third line power winger once he gets there. He's a big, strong boy who has worked hard to round out his two-way skills. And he's solid in tight while battling for the puck. But he needs to escalate his game this year in his rookie AHL season or he could just become the next Scott Hartnell circa 2006-07. Not that there's anything wrong with that ... he could be more, though.
Ashton surprised a lot of people last season, almost breaking camp with the big club. But the team wisely sent him back to junior where he stumbled his way through the season. He projects as a power forward a la Ryan Malone but he really needs to refine a lot of his skills -- they're just so raw. His wrister is his best asset; his timing and his skating are his biggest work areas. He's big but his hockey IQ is average at best, making his anticipation of the game a step behind. He can get to the big club but that won't happen until at least 2011-12.
Ashton is a good skater for a big man (6-foot-3, 205 lbs) who'll slowly grow into his role as a 30-goal power forward. He needs time, though, so he's nothing more than a super-deep keeper at this point.