Now that I can finally take a breath during baseball season — I have two whole days off…wheeeeeee — I can finally take a look at who should and shouldn’t come back when the Trenton Devils take the ice for the 2010-11 season. To spread things out a bit, I’ll do this by position.
I’ll start with the goalies…
There isn’t exactly a large sample size to go off of here, as Lerg played just two games for the T-Devils, just one of them at home. Against the horrendous Johnstown Chiefs, he played pretty well. Against the Reading Royals, who are still in the playoffs, by the way, he got shelled.
The undersized goalie certainly doesn’t lack the confidence to handle the pro game, but does he have the skill? The speed of the game and the size of the players both increase from college to the pro level, and that’s a big adjustment to have to make, especially for someone who’s about 5′ 6″, like Lerg.
Signed to an AHL deal, the Devils organization clearly saw something they liked in Lerg…but they didn’t exactly get a real opportunity to see what he can do. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in Trenton in 2010-11.
#35 Dave Caruso (21-20-1-1, .306, .908)
This one’s interesting. 2008-09 Gerald Coleman was better than 2009-10 Dave Caruso. But Caruso played well for the T-Devils last season, especially in the second half, supplanting Coleman as the starter down the stretch.
In my opinion, it’s clear that Caruso has no future in the Devils organization after heading back to Trenton after spending all but one game of his 2008-09 in Lowell after “graduating” from Trenton the previous season.
So it would appear to come down to how the organization wants to use their goalie slots in Trenton next year. Do they want a veteran like Caruso who can mentor a younger player like Lerg? Or do they want two goalies they hope to develop into possible AHL or even NHL goalies? If Caruso wants to come back, my hunch is they’d take him. But I’m not so sure that’s a scenario that will play out. He could theoretically challenge for an AHL job elsewhere.
Coleman wasn’t anywhere near as good this season as he was in 2008-09. He single-handedly turned the team around last year after being acquired from the now-defunct Phoenix Roadrunners, and nobody can take that away from him.
But this season, he could just never find any consistency, and didn’t seem to be the same goalie after being returned from Lowell a few weeks into the season.
Coleman will likely never put himself in a better position to earn an AHL job than what he did in his 2008-09 season, and he certainly didn’t earn an opportunity there in 2010-11 with his season this year.
I just can’t see Coleman coming back, as he’d now likely be better suited with another organization or overseas.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com