Oilers Looking at College Free Agent, Zach Ashton-Reese?

Zach Aston-Reese – #12 – Northeastern (Sr.)

Position – C/RW
Shoots – Left
Height – 6’1″
Weight – 204lb
Stats – 36GP 20G 32A 62PTS

What everybody is saying:

“He plays 200 feet. He’s a hard guy to play against because he plays both ends of the rink. His habits and details are tremendous for a kid who is a senior in college. He does everything the right way. He does it in practice. He kills penalties. He’s used in every situation,” – Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan (source)


“He’s a smart 200-foot kind of a guy,” says Kirk Luedeke, a scout with Red Line Report. “He doesn’t have a ton of size, but he plays bigger. He’s heavy on pucks, he’s responsible, he’s diligent, he works hard along the walls and he goes to the dirty areas and he’s got some jam. The offense has really come up in the last couple of seasons, especially this season, that’s what’s getting a lot of people’s attentions, but the foundation is there

“Let’s say youre an NHL team and you sign him and he makes your team right away,” Luedeke says. “Even if he’s not playing on a scoring line right and producing points for you, he’s probably doing some really good things on your bottom six or bottom line, and he’s the kind of guy that can work his way up because he’s smart and he’s industrious. ” – Sports Illustrated(source)

“The impact he has on his team’s performance when he’s on the ice almost can’t be overstated. Plus-8 percent attempt differential, plus-5 unblocked attempts, plus-9 on-goal, and plus-11 from higher-danger areas. How about plus-38 in goals? And how about doing it while you’re effectively used as a shutdown forward, getting just 26 percent of your zone starts in the offensive end? Come on.” – Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy (source

“At the next level, he’s going to have to be a bottom six player, and all indications point to him being able to do just that. A lot of his goals have come off tip-ins, rebounds or looks in the slot where he’s found a seam in the defense and received a good pass. Very few of his plays are of the highlight reel variety.” – Jeff Cox, SB Nation College Hockey (source)


“Already 22, Aston-Reese uses his physicality and strength to create room for himself and teammates, scoring goals mostly from the front of the net on rebounds and tips. His game is almost pro-ready as he likely won’t ever move past a team’s bottom-six at the next level.

Like with any other college free agent, he does come with his share of weaknesses. His foot speed has long been an issue, and may be exposed at the professional level against other players who are just as strong as him. He lacks the high-level creativity that scouts look for, but makes up for it with work ethic and body positioning. In a stationary battle he’s as good as anyone in the college ranks right now, but that won’t be true when he suddenly has to take on fully-grown men.

There is upside however, as with an NHL skating coach he could get that extra jump to help him keep up and his shot release is already fairly quick. Likely he’ll be looked at to add immediate depth to an AHL squad and NHL bottom-six, with the opportunity at some point to see some powerplay time if his net-front play continues.” – Gavin Lee, Pro Hockey Rumors (source)


From an Oilers perspective, does signing Ashton-Reese make sense right now? Do the Oilers need more help in their bottom six given they’re scratching the likes of Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira, and Drake Caggiula every night? Also, would it be prudent for the Oilers to add Ashton-Reese and have to teach him a new system at this point in the season?

I can’t see it. I like what I hear from the reports above and his highlights but I’m just not sure he’s a fit for the big club at this moment.

What I could see though is the Oilers signing him and giving the AHL club a very potent weapon to go with Jesse Puljujarvi for the Condors’ playoff run.

What say you?!

Let us know in the comments section below.

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!