GOALIES: Jeff Lerg, Dave Caruso
To me, the goaltending is the biggest question surrounding this team. Caruso had a very, very strong second half but didn’t get off to a good start last season. However, he has plenty of AHL experience under his belt, including a full season as recently as 2008-09.
As for Lerg, if he’s completely healthy as he says he is, he should be a big boost for this team. But how will his size translate at the pro level? Two games isn’t enough to make that judgment.
And who will take the reigns as the number one? In theory, Lerg is still a prospect and someone the organization would like to develop. Development requires playing time. So it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold.
DEFENSEMEN: T.J. Miller, Andy Thomas, Justin Coutu, Martin Nolet, Taylor Vichorek, Dave Leaderer, Justin Pender, Jordon Southorn, Gord Burnett
This is a solid group. Miller is the prospect out of the group, having been drafted by the Devils in the fourth round in 2006. Thomas, Coutu, Leaderer, Pender and Burnett make up a strong returning core group on the blueline. Leaderer has yet to miss a game in his first two pro seasons, playing all 72 each year with Trenton.
FORWARDS: Trevor Kell, Tony Zancanaro, Darcy Zajac, Matt Lombardi, Matt Vokes, Ryan Ginand, Ryan Hayes, Matthew Kang, Kory Nagy, J.S. Berube, Jeremy Akeson, Jeff Prough
There is no shortage of guys who can put the biscuit in the basket here. The forwards are this team’s biggest strength, with the depth of the organization really shining at this particular spot. If Kell can get back on a 20-25 goal pace, and Prough can put together another 30-goal season, there’s no telling how prolific the offense can be with supporting players like Zancanaro, Vokes and Ginand.
Berube is the one that Devils fans will likely be keeping an eye on, however, as the Devils draft choice will be making his regular season pro debut tonight.
PREDICTION: 92 points. It’s obviously hard to predict how a team will do at the minor league level, as the amount of turnover in the roster is very unpredictable. But with the group they have right now in Trenton, it would be difficult to say this isn’t a playoff team. I think they challenge for the division title and make it out of the first round for the first time since 2006-07.