Expectations are never high for seventh round picks. After all, they’re seventh round picks for a good reason. They’re usually guys you take flyers on and hope they can progress to being somewhat of an NHL player. Not a regular top sixer, and maybe not even a regular bottom sixer, but a guy who can perhaps provide handy depth should there be an injury crisis or underperforming regulars.
Austin Carroll falls in line with that trajectory. He was selected by the Flames for his size, scoring, and work ethic although he was an overager as a 20-year-old in the WHL. Despite some flaws, it was hoped that the spark plug could refine his game and eventually work his way into the conversation for an NHL roster spot.
To this date, he has been a spark plug. Does that mean an NHL future? His most recent season puts that in extreme doubt.
Carroll was a relatively anonymous yet steadily improving WHLer. He didn’t get to play in his first eligible season, sticking for another year in the BCHL instead. When he joined the Royals in his draft year, he put up a measly 20 points in 62 games. His second season was a major improvement, jumping to 42 points in 67 games.
An invite to dev camp and an impressive 2013-14 season (57 points in 70 games, second in team scoring) convinced the Flames select Carroll in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. Given the emphasis on size and truculence, the 6’3 RW with 114 PIMs was a natural fit. He returned to Victoria for one more season, leading the Royals with 77 points in 57 games.
His pro career has been quieter thus far. His rookie season saw him pick up 13 points in 53 games. Injuries and scratched hampered his second year, but he had a modest improvement with 15 points in 46 games.
Carroll had a rough start to the season. Rough as in he didn’t play for the first three weeks and then only played sparingly, hitting 11 games by the time the calendar switched over to 2018 (Stockton had played 30 by that point). After enough call-ups had found their way to Calgary, Carroll was a regular fourth liner, doing what most energy guys do best. He mostly remained in the lineup, occasionally subbing out every so often, but at least played once on a week-to-week basis. That stopped when Dillon Dube came to town, and all of a sudden he was back out (until Morgan Klimchuk got hurt/scratched for whatever reason late in the year).
|GP||G||A||P||Primary points||5v5 Points||5v5 Primary points||NHLe|
That chart pretty much tells you all you need to know if the numbers didn’t already. Of course it’s hard to score from the fourth line and the press box, but that was Carroll’s role in 2016-17 and he had twice the production. That’s not great for a player who was taken partially because of his year-to-year improvements in the WHL. No one was expected 40 points, but to be held to single digits over 42 games is very concerning.
Carroll’s sparing usage and lack of production should be an easy indicator of his future: he’s probably not going to be qualified.
He can be a shot in the arm when things aren’t going right, but that’s about his only selling point and Carroll isn’t even the best on the team in that regard (Ryan Lomberg is). He hasn’t been much of a scorer at the AHL level and is unlikely to turn into one at age 24. I can’t see why the Flames would use a contract spot on him (given that they’re likely giving a spot to Yasin Ehliz, it is more bad news for Carroll) given how far away he is from the NHL.
Perhaps Carroll should’ve been given better opportunities this year in Stockton, but he didn’t make the most of what he had and is now (likely) on his way out. Sucks.
Housekeeping note: if you do not own a Twitter account and would like to submit questions to the FlamesNation mailbag, there is now an email address! Flamesnationmailbag@gmail.com is the place to send them in.
Morgan Klimchuk | Hunter Shinkaruk | Spencer Foo | Rasmus Andersson | Tyler Wotherspoon | Oliver Kylington | Josh Healey & Adam Ollas Mattsson | Mitchell Mattson | Hunter Smith | Mason McDonald | Tyler Parsons | Juuso Valimaki | Nick Schneider | Adam Ruzicka | Matthew Phillips | D’Artagnan Joly | Glenn Gawdin | Zach Fischer | Dillon Dube | Filip Sveningsson | Eetu Tuulola | Adam Fox | Linus Lindstrom | Pavel Karnaukhov & Rushan Rafikov