While the team officially announced three more signings today, the ECHL provided a look behind the mysterious red curtain that is the Devils organization, revealing eight more previously unannounced signings.
Forward Jeremy Akeson and defensemen Gord Burnett and Justin Coutu have been brought back. In addition, the T-Devils are bringing in defensemen Martin Nolet, Jordon Southorn and forwards Matt Kang, Brett Valiquette and Garett Vassel.
The moves have Trenton’s current roster looking a little something like this…
FORWARDS (9): Ryan Hayes, Nick Kemp, Matt Vokes, Tony Zancanaro, Ryan Ginand, Jeremy Akeson, Matt Kang, Brett Valiquette, Garett Vassel
DEFENSE (5): David Leaderer, Gord Burnett, Justin Coutu, Martin Nolet, Jordon Southorn
GOALIES (1): Jeff Lerg
And, keep in mind, several players still need to be assigned from AHL Albany, with goalie Dave Caruso among the names you’ll see headed down in a few days.
But let’s take a look at the guys heading to Trenton, shall we?
Akeson is a rugged 25-year-old winger with great leadership ability who has a chance to have a letter on his sweater this season. In his third year in Trenton, the Ottawa native has posted a 26-33-59 line in 95 games with the T-Devils. He’ll need to stay healthy this season to show he deserves an opportunity at the next level.
Burnett is a 29-year-old defenseman who has no problem dropping the gloves with the other team’s heavyweights. Though discipline has been a problem for Burnett at times, his season was cut short by an arm injury last season. In parts of two seasons with Trenton, he has one assist and 108 penalty minutes in 22 contests.
Coutu made progress in his game last season, earning his first career call-up to the AHL after a solid season in Trenton. Coutu, 25, has spent the past season and a half in the capital city and has a 5-16-21 line in 83 regular season games for the T-Devils. But he’s likely best remembered for his game-tying goal in Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs two seasons ago, which sent the game to overtime and eventually to a Game 7.
Nolet will turn 24 by the time the season starts, and is a former Los Angeles Kings draft pick looking to make his pro debut. He spent his last four seasons playing collegiately at UMass-Amherst, and tallied a career-high five goals last season and tied a career high for points (9) in the process. Find out more about Nolet here.
Southorn was the Buffalo Sabres fourth round selection in the 2008 draft. Just 20 years old, the Montreal native will be making his pro debut with Trenton. He’s spent his past four seasons with the PEI Rocket of the QMJHL and has one 30+ and one 40+ point season under his belt. Read more about him here.
Kang has a name you might remember — not just because Kang and Kodos make up the evil Alien duo in The Simpsons — due to his brief stint with the Johnstown Chiefs at the end of last season. Just 21 years old, Kang split his first pro season between Johnstown and Las Vegas, scoring six goals and adding six assists in 49 games. In juniors, he posted a 66 points (30-36-66) in 66 games campaign with Kingston in 2007-08.
Valiquette was plucked out of the OJHL (Ontario Junior Hockey League). He played there last season with the Couchiching Terriers and scored 22 goals and added 33 assists with 120 penalty minutes in 47 games.
Vassel is a 25-year-old Northampton, NY native who will be making his pro debut after playing collegiately at RPI for the past four seasons. In 122 games, Vassel has scored four goals with nine assists while racking up 77 penalty minutes.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com