Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now: Forwards (Part 3)

#22 Kyle Kucharski (49 GP, 8 G, 13 A, 21 P, -5, 36 PIM)

For a guy who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 200 pounds, Kyle Kucharski was invisible way too much last season.  In his first professional season after a four-year collegiate career at Boston College, the 23-year-old struggled for most of the year.  Towards the end of the season, he fell completely out of favor with the coaching staff and was a healthy scratch for several games.

Kucharski showed flashes of talent at times, but never really played up to his size or potential.  With the depth in the Devils organization slowly starting to increase, it would be hard to envision a spot for the Massachusetts native in 2010-11.

Verdict: Gone

#25 Jeremy Akeson (35 GP, 8 G, 9 A, 17 PTS, +2, 54 PIM)

Akeson’s second season in Trenton was somewhat of a disappointment, as he missed more than half the season and posted just 17 points in 35 games.  Ever since injuring his knee in the first game of the playoffs in 2008-09, things simply haven’t gone right for the 25-year-old native of Ottawa.

Off the ice, Akeson is a great character guy and could be a future captain of the team if he were to return.  He isn’t afraid to step in and stand up for his often smaller teammates and is a pleasure to deal with from a media standpoint as well.  With a solid 2008-09 season under his belt (18-24-42 in 60 GP), Akeson would likely be welcomed back to the capital city for a third go-around.

Verdict: Back

#32 Kevin Cormier (10 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 PT, +1, 24 PIM)

Cormier returned to Trenton for just ten games last year after a brief stint in Lowell and some time away from the game to address some off-ice issues.  There is no doubting that he is an imposing physical presence and is one of the more talented and feared pugilists in the league.  There’s also little doubt that his game has not improved anywhere near the amount it would need to for him to get a regular shift.

Since debuting in Trenton in 2008-09, Corms has made strides with conditioning, which has led to improvements in his skating.  However, with questionable hands and discipline and his brother Patrice now out of the organization, it would be tough to see the tough guy back in 2010-11.

Verdict: Gone

#34 Jeff Prough (61 GP, 30 G, 31 A, 61 PTS, -1, 60 PIM)

What does Jeff Prough have to do to get out of the ECHL for good?  Easily the best player the Trenton Devils had for the majority of the season, the 24-year-old Michigan native posted his second consecutive 61 point season, giving him 122 points in 123 T-Devils games.

Prough was finally rewarded by the organization with an eight-game stint in the AHL last season, and he performed well.  In eight games, he posted a 1-2-3 line and just two penalty minutes.  A workout nut, Prough prides himself on conditioning and will unquestionably be in great shape for the start of this season.  If brought back by the organization — and they’d be very wise to do so — he should be given every opportunity to compete for a regular shift in Albany.

Verdict: Back

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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