A former Leafs player and prospect is on his way to the KHL. From Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko…
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) July 21, 2015
Why are we talking about Carter Ashton? Well, his new contract has a minor impact on Toronto’s 2016 Draft plans.
The Leafs dealt Ashton and David Broll to the Tampa Bay Lightning back in early February for a conditional seventh round pick in next year’s draft. Toronto would get the pick if Ashton played at least 15 games with the Lightning in this upcoming season. Now in Nizhny Novgorod, Ashton won’t be playing at all for Tampa Bay, and the condition will not be met. The trade now becomes Ashton and Broll for quite literally nothing in return.
Sound like a bad return? Well, Toronto did gain some valuable flexibility heading into last year’s trade deadline. From the original trade post…
With the trade, the Leafs now sit at 48 contracts out of a maximum 50. That’s insanely important as we inch closer to the trade deadline, and will allow the Leafs to accept two-for-one deals that involve players on SPCs. In addition, the Leafs save $851K against the cap on Ashton’s deal, and $591K on Broll’s.
Ultimately, Toronto didn’t need the additional SPC slots. Every trade made shortly after was player-for-player, with a number of draft picks thrown in to help with the rebuild. Still, for that extra cap space and flexibility, all Toronto gave up was two warm bodies that had very, very limited AHL upside.
It’s hard to call the trade a loss, since the Leafs really didn’t lose anything of significance. The most important thing is Toronto won’t be receiving that extra late round draft pick.
Even without the pick, Toronto currently holds nine confirmed selections in next year’s draft (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, two 5ths, two 6ths and a 7th). In addition, there are two more potential picks in Pittsburgh’s first rounder (lottery protected, came over in the Phil Kessel trade) and Toronto’s own third (which could go to Detroit to compensate for Mike Babcock’s hiring, at Toronto’s discretion). Don’t lose any sleep over that lost seventh.