Monday, May 25, 2009

Ashton, Carter - LW - Lethbridge WHL

Carter Ashton / Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL

LW-L / 6-2.5, 205 / 01-Apr-91

Skating: 60 / Skill: 60 / Sense: 65 / Compete: 65 / Tough: 65

Strengths:Near impossible to knock off the puck. Wins battles for the puck. Very good hands near the net. Underrated overall athleticism. Handles the physical game well.

Weaknesses: Somewhat limited passing ability. Needs help from linemates to produce.

At his best down low and near the crease - has a knack for the garbage goals. Great ability to protect the puck. Boxes out like a basketball player when battling along the boards. Some question his skating, but I think it's a plus. Stride looks a bit odd, but has good speed, balance, and not bad quickness.

Slumped after being moved off that first line with Sceviour. Bad move in my book - pair Ashton with a playmaker like that and it's a great combination. Ashton on a line with Kyle Beach and Dwight King? Not so much - too many finishers and no playmaking. I think that explains the 2nd half slump. Easy to forget that even with the slump, he led his team in goals.

Better puckhandling ability than he gets credit for, but he's never going to be a dynamic off-the-rush kind of player. So-so fighter, but is very willing to drop the gloves (6 FMs). Looks bigger than listed - what is up with Central's measurements? He was 6-4 in September, but 6-2.5 at the Top Prospects Game? Is so long-limbed, I'd have believed it if they told us he measured out at 6-6.

Summary: I just don't get why there isn't more buzz on this guy - textbook definition of "power forward prospect" that everyone is always looking for. At worst, I think he's going to be a great puck possession guy on the low cycle in the NHL. I think it's easy to project his style to the pro game (with a little more filling out of his big frame). If I was drafting 10-15 overall, I'd probably argue hard for him.

Draft Day: If I'm drafting in the middle of the first round, I love the fact that he had a bit of a slump late and might drop to picks 15-20. Still could be a 1st round wildcard - not impossible for him to sneak into the top 10. I'll be shocked if he's still around by about pick 25.

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