Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now: Goalies

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…

#1 Jeff Lerg (1-1-0, 5.50, .810)

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. 

Verdict: Back

#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.

Verdict: Gone

#39 Gerald Coleman (11-9-3-4, 3.61, .887)

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.

Verdict: Gone

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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18 Responses to “Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now: Goalies”

  1. Titans04 Says:

    Good stuff Mike.

    They would be making a huge mistake going into next season with 2 unproven goalies. BUT that would also be par for the course where winning isn’t a priority. If Dave wanted to come back and was comfortable playing at this level that would be great. I think at this point he would be hard pressed to get an invite to an AHL camp.

    I also agree that clearly it’s time for Gerald to move on, can’t see him getting a legitimate shot at a AHL deal either, his career seems to be heading in the wrong direction. I also highly doubt he had any intention in playing at this level this past season. Unfortunately his play slipped terribly.

    Yes it was only 2 games for Lerg, he was ok against the worst team in the league but he was just dreadful in Reading, completely lost, it was painful to watch, thankfully the B2 feed wasn’t all that great to begin with. He made Red Light look like Patrick Roy in his prime. I guess he would be back but I’d take a pass. I’m tired of winning not being a priority, but then again that’s why for the first time ever it’s not a given that we’ll be back.

    With Lemaire “retiring” today I wonder if McClean becomes Lou’s newest sock puppet in Newark and Rick heads off to Albany, leaving Vinny in Trenton.

  2. Shtikl Says:

    Definitely the Devils must make winning the second-highest priority in Trenton. Marketing the team and placating the disaffected fanbase has to be first. Given the Devils’ history, though, you shouldn’t expect either one.

    Any sense of who was the most important contributor off the ice? Who kept the team from mailing in the whole season back in November? Given the Devils’ track record, I’d expect them to treat those players like they did Henkel last year.

    But ChrisLam will be preoccupied for awhile, now that the AHL franchise is moving to Albany. 5 year deal. http://blog.timesunion.com/hockey/devils-give-five-year-commitment-to-move-to-albany/5422/

  3. Titans04 Says:

    Call me crazy but I think that long of a commitment makes the 10 year lease in Trenton even less meaningful than it was before. I think the ECHL has some wide spread problems (Wheeling, Johnstown, Charlotte leaving) and the distance between the remaining teams will be too spreadout for it to make much sense at some point. I can’t see status quo having a shelf life of more than a couple more years in Trenton. I guess we could play Reading 36 at home and 36 on the road – that sounds like fun.

  4. chiarams Says:

    So the state of NY is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, but Lou is insisting that the Times Union Arena invest in a new scoreboard and ribbon board at taxpayer expense?

    Hilarious.

  5. Shtikl Says:

    Well, the TUC’s board of governors could still vote not to fund the capital improvements. Then Lou could either modify his proposal or go elsewhere. But the TUC houses a few other events and, sooner or later, needs to upgrade its scoreboard to join the 21st century. If their facility were modernized, they might have been able to attract another team and wouldn’t have had to settle for the Devils.

    Meanwhile, the taxpayers of Massachusetts get stuck owning a white elephant arena — which will be occupied 20 nights a year by the local Hockey East (university) team, and maybe 15-20 more by the local high school team — , into which they have sunk over $5 Million just to stick up some fancy new logos changing the name from “Tsongas Arena” to “Tsongas Center”. How fitting it is, too! Since they refused to support the Devils, they now have to pay extra to support what they really wanted all along: nothing!

  6. Titans04 Says:

    Hey why not the team is going to do wonders for the area, can you imagine yet another town painted red within 200 miles? Actually they can use the paint that was designated for Trenton, it went unused.

  7. Shtikl Says:

    Pete Dougherty of the Times Union says the Devils were also considering Trenton and Atlantic City, in case the deal with Albany fell through. So Lou might have tried to paint Atlantic City red, imagine that! :rofl:

    http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2010/04/ken_hitchcock_could_be_the_per.html

    Straight from Lou’s own… er… mouth:

    ”In the minor leagues … I look at how the players have developed and how they’re prepared when they come here. … The philosophy of the developmental team is to prepare players. … Winning is important, but not as important. We could put a Calder Cup champion into Lowell every year if we wanted to. But it [would] be a mistake for developing players.”

    😛 So you know you’re just going to get more of same next year, T-Devils fans. And you know Albany’s going to get what Lowell did. Don’t expect the All-bony Dweebles to do any better than the Lowly Dweebles, eh? Gotta love the Debbies’ dogged refusal to consider the minor league teams as individual businesses. I hope they at least don’t water down the Kool-Aid! 😛

  8. Titans04 Says:

    Great an FU from the top, one thing they can count on in Albany is a growing population of shit flies around the arena.

  9. chiarams Says:

    Wow. Thanks Lou.

    Hey Jim, Ed, and anyone else from the Devils org that reads these comments – please pass on to Lou a hearty eff you.

    How anyone can justify giving a nickel to the Devils for tickets in Trenton or Albany after reading that quote from Lou is beyond me. I know I won’t make that mistake again.

  10. Shtikl Says:

    Funniest thing — just tuned in to WCAP in Lowell, where at 5:10 PM former play-by-play announcer Ryan Johnston (now a newscaster) interviewed UML Chancellor Marty Meehan (former Congressional wanker) about the deal. Meehan said it’s not a done deal yet but probably we should hear something over the next 3 days for sure… OMG, Lou, just throw the Smuckers and end the misery!

    BTW, could somebody suggest to the Trenton Devils that one of their 2010-11 promotions should be locally-made Raspberry Jelly? 😉

  11. titans04 Says:

    Funny how Lou was to cheap to throw a jar of jelly at the Rock when it was on his dime even though they couldn;t be bothered showing up for game 5.

  12. Shtikl Says:

    Someone needs to call Lou on his statement is that he could put a Calder Cup champion team together every year if he wanted. That’s a boast he needs to prove. I dare him to put together a Kelly Cup champion team in Trenton, since that won’t really hurt the top prospects’ “development” any. It’s PUT UP OR SHUT UP TIME, Lou!

  13. Titans04 Says:

    Triumph says we’re all full of sh*t and Lou could do it if he wanted to.

  14. Shtikl Says:

    Right. And I’m actually the Czar of all the Russias. But don’t forget, Lou’s not in charge in Trenton 😉 😉 😉 And ChrisLam never said he could field a Kelly Cup winner easy-peasy. So there’s the built-in excuse for another dismal half season. I love Devils 1985’s optimism: it’s only taking Rick and Vinny half a season to turn raw recruits into a contending team — but it has to damage something when, midway into the season, “you could have heard a mouse fart in that dressing room after the game.” So did their end-of-season run, when they played so very well indeed, happen *because* of nights like that, or *in spite* of them?

  15. trentondevilsfan Says:

    I think the fact they turned things around most definitely reflects well on the coaching and the ability to keep the effort up. As an aside, this may help the AHL affiliate as the guys that move up will be more seasoned in the pro game.

    Doesn’t help folks down here though.

    And Lou’s comments don’t affect me one way or the other because I already knew that, it’s quite clear they look to develop players first. It would be nice if more of an effort was made in other areas – or rather the means was made available to make a stronger effort possible by the local FO.

    Goalie wise, I don’t think Coleman’s back either. Caruso maybe, I definitely think Lerg is back and is the presumptive #1. Didn’t pay much attention to the Reading game, the one game I saw I thought he was really quick. It’s only one game against substandard competition so basically I still know nothing. Who knows maybe he’s the next Darren Pang, wouldn’t put money on it though.

  16. titans04 Says:

    You’re a good sport for putting up with the bashing.

    I think Lou really just rubs the rest of us here the wrong way, saying he could ice a calder cup team if he choose to do so is a kick in the balls for most. The other question I ask is in Lou’s prized farm system since the lockout what players have risen to become an impact player at the NHL level. Clarkson?? An ok 3rd/4th liner. Fraser spit the bit. If the system was so robust AND they actually did develop guys (as they self proclaim they do) there wouldn’t be a need for the Pikkarainen, Murphy, Davison, Walter. Sestito’s, and retreads like McCammond, Niedermeyer and Petere. Now I agree there are probably more long shots in the system this year compared to the last X number of years.

    All the emphasis on growing prospects and Hockey Futures had the dead last in the league I believe that was going into last season, and that guy that wrote it is a Devils fan. Honestly it’s smoke launching from Lou’s lips to the collective ever shrinking fan bases sphincters.

  17. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Oh I just blew off the Calder Cup comment as so much BS. I mean if there were no vet limit then anyone could buy a team. And of course any team with an affiliate is going to want to have their player development be the top priority, often to the disagreement of the local ownership.

    What I don’t get is a young player can really use a mentor that isn’t a coach, using one roster spot for a savvy veteran can really speed the development of a player. It’s why I would like to see Caruso back next year.

    No question the system hasn’t been strong but it does take time to grow it.

    The thing of it is….it’s rare to see a top prospect down here. They either go from juniors to the A or the N, goalies being the most notable exception but aren’t they always?  We’ll see if the Devs try and change that.

    Lou could have said something like ‘winning is important at every level, but the minors are development leagues and it’s a top priority for us is developing our players. Of course winning does help in that endeavor’

  18. Shtikl Says:

    Sure, Lou could have said that. But he DIDN’Tt. That’s the critical point. He doesn’t give a shit about the local fans. He’s just an absentee owner, and you fans are irrelevant to his business plan because you’re not his cash cow. The minor league team lives on corporate welfare from the NHL club. He doesn’t need to entertain you, so he WON’T. And that’s why the T-Devils drew, on average, only 11 more fans per night than the Lowly Dweebles.

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