Ashton Schultz: Hockey Intelligence and Determination

Photo by David Romuald

Ashton Schultz is the only non-senior, to be voted as a finalist for the MN Hockey Life High School Hockey Player of the Year Award. On a team full of stars and future D1 commitments, Schultz has been a clear standout, demonstrating consistency and the ability to take over a game when needed.

Schultz, who committed to the University of North Dakota last August, leads Minnetonka in scoring with 53 points in 25 games played, registering points in all but three contests this season. This is after an outstanding performance in the Midwest Elite League this fall, where he registered 25 points in 18 games while demonstrating an ability to play a 200-foot game.

An aspect of Ashton’s game that makes him so dangerous is his ability to bring the puck to the net with precision stickhandling and power. During viewings this season Schultz has created scoring chances while controlling the puck with player(s) harassing him from all angles. He manages to have success by possessing a strong stick that can shed poke checks and aggressive defenders. When the opposition decides to be less aggressive and hold back a bit to play it safe, Ashton takes advantage of this time and space to find an open teammate, make a savvy 1v1 move, or snap a quick shot off on net.

These same skills that make him so effective in high traffic areas also translate to small spaces in the corners and behind the net, as he can win loose puck battles and then work himself out of these jams with his soft hands and shifty maneuvers. His body positioning when carrying the puck also plays a big roll here, as Schultz makes it difficult to get a clean sweep or angle on the puck.

Ashton is more than just a skilled player as his on-ice intelligence is top notch, making calculated decisions for small advantages numerous times throughout a contest. His positioning and movements are all done with thought, each move on the ice supporting his next move. Giving him more options or outs as the play continues to develop. When receiving a stretch pass during a recent viewing, Schultz opened his body up as the puck approached and slowed his advancement up ice to time his stick with the pass location. Upon receiving the puck, he made a slight hesitation move to freeze the defender and then hit the gas to take advantage of the flat-footed defenseman. The other defenseman saw that his partner was beat and made a desperation dash to defend Ashton as he crossed the blueline. With the heavy pressure approaching Ashton identified that the opposing defenseman was closing in without covering a lane to the slot. Schultz then laced a touch pass to his breaking teammate, who received the puck at the top of the circle and was gifted a prime scoring chance all alone. Ashton made this innocent stretch pass into an instantly dangerous opportunity.

Plays like the one mentioned above are what makes Schultz such a threat, as he’s able to adapt to the play, making instantaneous decisions that support the next, putting in motion a sequence of events that lead to scoring opportunities. The late 2006 DOB is a great talent that possesses that “it” factor. His smarts and talent give him a high ceiling for future progression.

Ashton will be eligible for the 2025 NHL Draft.