Austin Carroll has always been an intriguing player. He’s one of those late bloomer, improbable story types who has, against all odds, risen from write-off goon to core depth player.
What does the future hold for the Stockton sparkplug?
Carroll, a ninth round selection of the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals in 2009, joined the team in 2011 (his draft year) after an unimpressive BCHL season when he finished with 11 points in 42 games. Undrafted in his first year, he became a noise-maker and shift-disturber for the Royals, finishing second in penalty minutes behind Flames prospect Keegan Kanzig.
Along the way, Carroll also became a scorer, albeit a low volume one. In his third year with the Royals, his final draft eligible year, he finished second on his team in total scoring and first in goals. A dev camp invite in years before, the Flames used their seventh round pick in 2014 on Carroll. One final year in the Dub saw him lead the sorry Royals in scoring as an overager. Headed to the Stockton Heat, Carroll became a reliable fourth liner, scoring 13 points in 53 games in his rookie year.
|GP-G-A-P||Primary points||5v5 P1||NHLe|
Carroll had a slight improvement on the year before. All but two of his points were primary and all of his points were at 5v5, which is good news. I guess it’s a little telling that he doesn’t get any special teams time, though.
Due to injuries, healthy scratches, and what have you, Carroll didn’t record a point until Dec. 8. For the most part, he was relatively consistent, scoring about a point or so per week. He’s not a high scoring guy, but he’ll at least be reliable. Perhaps fourth line minutes (estimated between 9-10 per game) held him back, but there’s no real reason to move him up. He occasionally saw time on the third line, but was unable to do anything significant with it.
Carroll’s WHL time shows that he can be an effective, albeit low scoring, energy guy. In his AHL time, he’s mostly fulfilled that role. And he’ll likely play that role forever.
There’s always a demand for players like Carroll – we’ve seen it in guys like Paul Byron, Josh Jooris, Garnet Hathaway, etcetera – but there’s also a high supply. The Heat have similar players in Ryan Lomberg and, in call-up stints, Mikkel Aagaard. Those two have also been slightly better on the score sheet and are also younger. Lomberg and Aagaard (gut feeling tells me that the team will give him an ELC this year) will have their contracts expire after Carroll’s. If Carroll can’t make a convincing step next year, he’s probably out of the organization.
Morgan Klimchuk, Mark Jankowski, Hunter Shinkaruk, Rasmus Andersson, Kenney Morrison, Tyler Wotherspoon, Oliver Kylington, Stepan Falkovsky, Keegan Kanzig/Mason McDonald, Ryan Culkin/Brett Pollock, Mitchell Mattson, Adam Fox, Brandon Hickey, Riley Bruce/Nick Schneider, Tyler Parsons, Eetu Tuulola, Matt Phillips, Dillon Dube, Adam Ollas Mattsson, Linus Lindstrom, Pavel Karnaukhov/Rushan Rafikov, Tim Harrison