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Pats acquire Carter Ashton and Craig Orfino from Lethbridge

Hurricanes Press Release

This was posted on the Lethbridge Hurricanes website:

Another Hurricanes Blockbuster
Wed, December 9th, 2009
Canes acquire Graham Hood and prospect Taylor Balog along with draft picks in 2010 and 2011 in exchange for Carter Ashton and Craig Orfino
Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes have completed another trade today, this time acquiring a 92-born forward, a talented prospect and a pair of future draft picks. Hurricanes General Manager/Head Coach, Rich Preston, announced this afternoon that the Canes have acquired 92-born forward Graham Hood, highly touted 94-born prospect Taylor Balog along with a 2nd round pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft as well as a 1st round pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft from the Regina Pats in exchange for 2009 NHL 1st round draft pick Carter Ashton and veteran forward Craig Orfino.

Hood, a Saskatchewan native is in his second year in the WHL and has totaled eight points (5G, 3A) in 21 games thus far this season. In 08-09, his rookie season, he totaled 13 points (6G, 7A) in 60 games and 35 PIMs. A big body at 6’2”, 203 pounds, Hood has already nearly exceeded his point totals from all of last season and has the potential to become a WHL Top 6 forward.

Balog was considered to be a steal when selected by the Pats in the second round (28th overall) in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. Originally projected to be a Top ten WHL Bantam pick and was ranked sixth overall by International Scouting Services. In 2008-09, the 6’1” 185 pounder played in Weyburn, alongside WHL first-overall Bantam Draft Pick Derrick Pouliot with a team that won the Saskatchewan Bantam Championship.

“Graham Hood is a big strong kid who has already matched his numbers from a year ago and definitely has the upside to be a top 6 forward and step in to play right now.” said Hurricanes Assistant to the GM/Hockey Operations Rich Sutter “Balog is a very good 94 who we all liked and after seeing him play last week he is a key piece of this trade. He is a good sized kid and has a real opportunity to come in and play an important role next season as a 16 year old. All this and we also continue to add to our future with these draft picks.”

Both Ashton and Orfino are players who began their WHL careers in Lethbridge. Ashton, a Saskatoon native was drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round (6th overall) of the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft. He has had much success in the Hockey Canada Program of excellence winning a bronze medal as a member of Team Western at the 2008 U17 World Hockey Challenge and scoring the game winning goal in the gold medal game for the Team Canada U18s at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament Last season, he led all Hurricanes players with 30 goals and 10 power play goals in his second season in the league. This summer he was drafted in the first round (29th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning and attended his first NHL Training Camp with the Lightning before signing an NHL Entry Level contract with the Lightning in the fall.

Orfino is a fan favorite who in 2008-09 was Awarded the Hurricanes Most Popular Player Award as voted by the players as well as the Joan Kobal Memorial Award for Perseverance, Dedication and Sportsmanship. He was originally drafted by Lethbridge in the 10th round (185th overall) of the 2005 WHL Bantam draft. In 2007-08 he had a solid rookie season in and has since developed into a leader for the Hurricanes both on and off the ice. A career highlight came in the 2008 WHL playoffs as he notched game and series winner in Lethbridge’s game six of the first round of the 2008 WHL playoffs against the Brandon Wheat Kings; it was the first time the Canes advanced past the first round of the WHL playoffs in over a decade. In 2007-08 he was named Co-winner of the Hurricanes Scholastic Player of the Year Award and the Co-winner of the Hurricanes Most Improved Player of the Year Award.

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