Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now: Defensemen

#28 Tim Kunes (72 GP, 7 G, 31 A, 38 PTS, -10, 52 PIM)

Kunes was dependable — he played in all 72 games for the T-Devils last season — and led all of the team’s defensemen in points.  He also was very hesitant to shoot the puck despite being the quarterback of the power play, and was a defensive liability at times.  The undersized blueliner needs a standout skill if he wants to both get a chance at the next level and avoid comparisons to another much-maligned power play specialist, Ryan Gunderson.  Thing is, Gundy made it to the AHL.  Will Kunes?  Perhaps.  It seems likely he’ll return to the Devils organization last year…whether he gets a chance in Albany is up to him.

Verdict: Back

#2 Slavomir Tomko (48 GP, 9 G, 22 A, 31 PTS, +12, 63 PIM)
Tomko was acquired early in the season from Wheeling.  He impressed me quite a bit during the 2008-09 playoff series while he was with Elmira, and I was pleased with the acquisition.  Offensively, he was probably Trenton’s best defenseman.  It’s not unfair to say he was an offense-minded D-man, but that obviously led to some shortcomings defensively as well.  Tomko is a solid defenseman at this level, but outside of a brief call-up, probably isn’t going to see any significant time at the AHL level.  Considering he’s not a “Devils guy,” in that he was somewhat of a non-prospect who was acquired from outside of the organization, and I can’t see him coming back next year.

Verdict: Gone

#26 David Leaderer (72 GP, 9 G, 16 A, 25 PTS, +9, 40 PIM)

What’s not to like about Dave Leaderer?  Apparently, you’ll have to ask the Devils organization.  The most solid and best all-around defenseman the T-Devils had last season, Leaderer played all 72 games of the ECHL season and was passed up numerous times when Lowell needed someone to fill in.  I’d take him back in a heartbeat, but why would he want to come back?  Leaderer would be a solid sixth or seventh defenseman for someone at the AHL level right now, and unless he was promised that opportunity — or at least given a chance at it — by New Jersey, he should look elsewhere for playing time.

Verdict: Gone

#5 Andy Thomas (71 GP, 3  G, 18 A, 21 PTS, +16, 82 PIM)

Thomas came to the Trenton Devils with a half-season of AHL experience.  He didn’t exactly increase that too much last season…if I remember correctly, he got a very brief look in Lowell during one of their games in Newark against Hartford and was quickly returned.   Defensively solid and adequate offensively, the Devils would be wise to bring back the 24-year-old. 

Verdict: Back

#27 Justin Pender (49 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 PTS, -8, 100 PIM)

Didn’t like him.  Let me get that out of the way now.  I don’t mean that as a person…I rarely talked to him…but as a player, I didn’t like him.  Pender will go as far as his rocket of a slapshot will take him, but that rocket of a slapshot rarely hits the net.  He’s a big, imposing presence, but he didn’t use his size to his advantage enough.  He also played undisciplined at times, and would get burned on occasion by smaller, more skilled forwards on other teams.  All the more reason I bet they bring him back. 

Verdict: Back

#7 Justin Coutu (57 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 PTS, E, 113 PIM)

I’m on the fence about Coutu.  I think he came on a bit towards the end of the season…he started jumping into the play more and showing more of an offensive side.  He really strikes me as more of a stay at home defenseman, but I’m not sure he can really pull that off.  Coutu’s discipline came into question quite a bit last season…there were times where he make you scratch your head with some of the penalties he’d take.  But he’s a good team guy, and earned his call-up to Lowell.  He’d likely be welcomed back.

Verdict: Back

#6 Chris Murray (28 GP, 0 G, 9 A, 9 PTS, +14, 87 PIM)

Murray was another player who brought some AHL experience to the Trenton Devils last year.  There were times, however, where I thought he looked somewhat disinterested while playing in the ECHL.  I’m not sure he’d be at the top of the list to add to his AHL game total this time around, so I doubt he’s back in 2010-11.

Verdict: Gone

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT


10 Responses to “Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now: Defensemen”

  1. titans04 Says:

    Mike thanks for putting this together, much appreciated.

    Kunes – like Gunderson is a small forward dressed as a defensemen who on most occasions refuses to shot the puck. Strange things happen when you throw the puck at the net, sometimes it goes in. Virtually plays very little D and like Ryan his +/- is bad. I can’t see that changing based on his game. Like you I think he’s back. although I would pass.

    Tomko – eh he had some really solid games and some dreadful ones, would be surprised to see him back. I would keep him and play him on the PP instead of Kunes, if he gets off to a slow start they can trade/cut him.

    Leaderer – solid at this level, certainly not flashy but gets the job done. Would certainly take him again.

    Thomas – definately a keeper my guess would be he gets a two way deal and be the next Cohen in Albany. Marginal at best playing time based on injuries to the other D. Great kid, hopefully he stays.

    Pender – Basically another big bodied dman that plays like he’s 5’9. Huge shot that peppered the glass game in and game out. Really struggles with the puck and just plays soft. Really needs to work on his skating but I don’t hold out much hope. Was really expecting more toughness and clealry that didn’t happen. I would pass – but I would be shocked if he’s not back he’s a Devils guy. Great.

    Coutu – probably the leader at taking the most untimely penalties throughout the season. I guess the most physical guy out there on the blueline but it’s all relative. I would wish him well elsewhere next season but again I’m probably just not getting it.

    Murray – don’t think he wanted anything to do with playing at this level, his +/- is impressive. He got the idea of shooting the puck at the net when he had the opportunity to do it. Would be shocked to see him back.

  2. Shtikl Says:

    And congratulations to the Cincinnati Cyclones, ECHL Kelly Cup Champions, who drew 13,483 to watch them win… With crowds like that, they should be able to bankroll a couple of good veterans, eh?

  3. Philly Devil Says:

    It should be stated, that there are more openings for the Devs on defense in NJ and (now) Albany than the previous years. Not becuase of “not being good enough” but because of contracts running out, not being re-signed. Also, that means players moving up (i.e.e Tyler Eckford and Matt Corrente). So I think that is important to be stated.

    Why would Leaderer not want to come back? Also, who was Lowell going to take out of the line up to put him in and why rush him? More spots will be open on D in Albany this year and the Devs don’t RUSH players. Also, the Devs are good for D men and are known for getting more out of them then what they actually are (hello Mike Mottau). Devs are proven to bring along young D men. He see’s Matty Cohen getting a good shot and become a solid young productive player for ..well now Albany. Why not want to be a Devil. I don’t think he has a problem with giveaway’s at the door. 🙂

    Pender, well let me say this..I watched him this year and most night’s thought he was a gutless, cheap shot punk. Stupid penaly after stupid penatly. Pender seems to play for himself and not the team at times, this is never good. Hard slap shot, big deal. He did play a wing sometimes and that was interesting. Here is to him becoming more mature and if he did not come back, I’d kind of be happy about it. Junes deserves more time. I think Dylan Qualie (sorry if I messed up his last nmae) made a mistake by not coming back. Oh well. Justin Coutu is the same deal, he’ll get a look in Albany and maybe he’ll return to Trenton. I think Andy Thomas comes back.

    As far as Tomko, he is not a “Devils Guy” and he probably won’t be back, but you never know.

    The real question? Does Alexander Urbom and or Harry Young go to Trenton or Albany? Both are much more than solid prospects.

  4. Titans04 Says:

    perhaps the most meaningless list of all the ECHL lists that are badically worthless- the protected list (Straub- not sure where he came from but he’s probably to physical to even be on the list).

    Trenton Devils
    Dave Caruso
    Charlie Effinger
    David Leaderer
    Andy Thomas
    Justin Coutu
    Slavomir Tomko
    Justin Pender
    Gord Burnett
    John Wessbecker
    Brandon Straub
    Dylan Quaile
    Tony Zancanaro
    Tim Kunes
    Dan Eves
    Matt Vokes
    Jack Combs
    Chris Poli
    Jeremy Akeson
    Ryan Ginand
    Dan Charleston
    Jon Howse

  5. titans04 Says:

    GREAT NEWS! according to Reading and Elmira Trenton play them 16x’s each next season. How great is that?

  6. Shtikl Says:

    Yeah… Cincinnati, Elmira, Reading, and Toledo have their schedules out. Looks like those are 42 of the T-Devils’ 62 games. 10/16 and 10/17 are home vs. Reading, plan accordingly (e.g., get tickets for something else so you have an excuse not to go 😛 )

  7. Titans04 Says:

    “We WIN to develop, we don’t feel it’s possible to develop to win, it’s that simple” Doug Yingst

    Hear that Chris\Lou? A GM that actually gets it from a minor league hockey fans perspective. It’s not about 2-3 prospects and winning should ALSO be a priority.

  8. titansman Says:

    looks likes Kunes is gone to europe. Dont have to worry about him anymore.

  9. Shtikl Says: It’s official. So the T-Devils won’t have to drive as far when they’re called up to bail out the AHL farm team.

  10. Shtikl Says:

    Notice Kunes signed with Starbulls Rosenheim.

    Hmm. I hope he speaks the language, or picks it up quickly! It’s a nice little city but one can get very homesick.


    Anybody remember Rob Page? He’ll be coaching elite prep high schoolers in Minnesota…

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