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2015 NHL trade season: Lightning re-acquire Carter Ashton, pick up David Broll, in deal with Toronto Maple Leafs

In what looks like a pure depth move by the organization, the former 1st round draft pick by the club is brought back to the organization.

Carter Asxhton, left, was acquired as depth by the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 6th.
Carter Asxhton, left, was acquired as depth by the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 6th.
Mike Carlson/Getty Images

There used to be a playful argument between Tampa Bay Lightning fans and Toronto Maple Leafs fans regarding the 2012 trade that sent forward Carter Ashton to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Keith Aulie.  It, the argument, revolved around which club "won" the trade because the productivity at the NHL level from Aulie outweighed the mixed playing time and production from Ashton in Toronto.

Aulie didn't pan out in Tampa Bay and he was allowed to walk in the 2014 NHL off-season because the talent his acquisition had delayed the need for (Radko Gudas, Mark Barberio, even later college free agent signing Andrej Sustr) had arrived at the NHL and capable.

Now, Ashton - who played a total of 54 NHL games in 4 seasons with the Leafs (as well as 96 games with the Toronto Marlies, their AHL affiliate) has been sent packing right back to Tampa Bay. Ashton, along with David Broll, was traded by the Leafs to Tampa Bay for all of a conditional 7th round draft choice in the 2016 NHL draft.

Ashton's major accomplishment with the Leafs was his 20-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, handed down early this season.

Broll, to cover that one, has been a minor-leaguer most of his career so far, making his NHL debut last season. He played 5 games with the Leafs and notched a lone assist. He's played for both the Marlies and the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL this season where he scored 2 goals and 7 assists.

The deal seems like a move for depth in the organization; the Syracuse Crunch battle injuries at current to their forward corps and that can be further depleted by recalls at any given time.  There's also the possibility of a larger trade by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the 2015 NHL trade deadline forthcoming, in which case Broll or Ashton can prove to be vital in making up for players moved in deadline deals. That remains to be seen though.