Arron Asham was a gritty and honest hockey player. Known as a hardworking and hard-hitting forward and a middleweight fighter who took on the heavyweights anyway, helping to keep the opponents honest, too. It was all part of his job that earned him tremendous respect as a character role player and a popular teammate.
After establishing himself as a stand out with the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League, Asham was drafted 71st overall in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. Not only was it a dream come true for him, but it was also an extra special day for his dad, Ron - a die-hard and lifelong Canadiens fan.
Following time with the Fredericton Canadiens and Quebec Citadelles, Montreal’s AHL affiliates, Asham enjoyed a long and successful NHL career. Unfortunately for Dad, his son's time in Montreal was limited to spot duty over four years.
Shipped from the Montreal Canadiens to the New York Islanders in June of 2002, the aggressive Asham went from being a bit player with the Habs to a regular contributor for the Isles.
"Playing more games, you can't complain about that. Scoring more goals -- it's awesome right now," he said. "That's what I needed, for sure. I wasn't playing, and now I'm getting a chance to play."
He took full advantage of it, too. He became a consistent 10 goal/25 point scoring threat while supplying energetic physical play on the third or fourth line. He grew into a leadership role and became a reliable defensive player.
In 2007-08 Asham, a Metis Canadian from Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, left the Isles and began a vagabond tour of the NHL, signing free agent contracts with New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers. He would never again enjoy the same offensive success as with the Islanders, but continued to be a serviceable depth player.
Asham finished his NHL career with 789 games played, 94 goals, 208 points, and 1004 penalty minutes. He also played 72 career playoff games scoring 11 goals and 19 points.
The highlight of his career had to be helping the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. Though the Chicago Blackhawks would win the final round, the Flyers admirably overcame big odds to get as far as they did.
That journey to the Stanley Cup final included a memorable series against the Montreal Canadiens. Asham scored a key goal in game five against his former team. He scored four goals and seven points in twenty three games that post-season.