Carter Ashton Headed to KHL

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Carter Ashton is headed east.

After a difficult season, the 24-year-old forward has signed a one-year deal with Torpedo Nizhy Novgorod in the KHL.

Ashton played seven games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season before getting traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a conditional pick in the 2016 draft. Ashton never made his way into a game for the Lightning and spent 29 games playing for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, where he scored three goals and 11 assists.

The big frustration of the season for Ashton, however, was a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. He tested positive for Clenbuterol, which he protested was the result of using an inhaler given to him by another player he was training with.

He stated that he “suffered an asthmatic spasm in late August while in a training session getting prepared for the 2014-15 NHL season. One of the other athletes I was training with gave me an inhaler in order to help open my airway, which provided me with immediate relief from my asthma attack. I kept this inhaler and used it a second time early in the training camp upon experiencing another asthma episode…I now recognize that I ingested Clenbuterol, a prohibited substance, through the inhaler. However, at no time was I seeking to gain an athletic advantage or to knowingly violate the terms of the (performance enhancing substance program.)” (via The Hockey News)

He did not fight the suspension.

He’s played 54 career NHL games, scoring zero goals and three assists. Ashton was a restricted free agent.

RELATED: Daniil Tarasov Leaves Sharks, Joins KHL