(Norfolk Admirals release) NORFOLK, Va. â€“ The Norfolk Admirals have added Tampa Bay Lightning prospect forwards Carter Ashton  and Richard Panik  to their roster. Ashton has been assigned to the Admirals by the Lightning from his junior team while Panik has been signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO).
Ashton, 18, a 6-foot-3, 207-pound right wing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, split this season between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. In 28 games with Lethbridge, he posted 13 goals and 26 points. He was then traded to Regina, where he scored 11 goals and 25 points.
Panik (â€œPAN-ihkâ€), 19, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound right wing from Martin, Slovakia, split this season between the Windsor Spitfires and the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League. In 33 games with Windsor, he posted nine goals and 18 points. After being acquired by Belleville, Panik notched 12 goals and 23 points in 27 games.
The Lightning drafted Ashton in the first round (29th overall) in last summerâ€™s NHL Entry Draft. He was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract by the Lightning on October 2. Ashton played in three games with the Lightning this preseason, recording one goal before being assigned to his junior team.
Last season, Ashton recorded 30 goals and 50 points with Lethbridge, leading the Hurricanes in goals and power play goals with ten while ranking fifth in points. Ashton has compiled 59 goals and 110 points in 177 career WHL games between Lethbridge and Regina.
The Lightning drafted Panik in the second round (52nd overall) in last summerâ€™s NHL Entry Draft. He appeared in two games with the Lightning this preseason and had two shots on goal before being returned to his junior team.
Panik played in 15 games for Trinec of the Czech Super League last season, recording a goal and two points. He also played in 16 games with Trinecâ€™s junior team, registering 10 goals and 19 points. Panikâ€™s season was cut short due to injury.
Panik has had a great deal of success in international play during his career. He played in seven games for Slovakia in the 2009 World Junior Championships, recording two goals and five points. He was tied for third on the team in both goals and points. Panik also participated in the 2008 World Under-18 Junior Championships, recording four goals and 10 points in six games.
During his Super League career Panik has amassed a goal and two points in 21 games. In the Czech junior league he accumulated 45 goals and 81 points in 55 games.
Ashton will become the second-youngest player and Panik the third- youngest to lace up the skates for a Norfolk Admirals game in the teamâ€™s AHL history. If he plays on Wednesday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Ashton will make his professional debut at age 18 year, 11 months and 16 days and Panik will be 19 years, one month and ten days old. The youngest player in Norfolk Admirals (AHL) history was Dana Tyrell , who made his debut at 18 years, ten months and 28 days old on March 21, 2008 while on an Amateur Tryout Contract.
(Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via norfolkadmirals.com)