A Lot To Catch Up On

My apologies for not doing a better job of updating this, I’ve actually been pretty sick since covering Princeton’s shocking ECAC first round playoff loss to St. Lawrence and haven’t so much as left the house since getting home Sunday night.

I think the first place I have to start is the “revised” Wheeling deal.  According to someone who’d know, Nailers defenseman Mike Gershon did, in fact, fail his physical.  So he was sent back to Wheeling and Justin Coutu, for now, has been returned to Trenton.  Would not at all be surprising to see him moved again.  Jeremy Akeson (pictured) was still dealt for future considerations…which will most likely be cash for the time being.

Akeson was one of the longest tenured members of the Devils, having joined the team out of juniors prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.  In 152 games with Trenton, the 26-year-old tallied 37 goals and added 44 assists, but wasn’t able to match what he’d done in a strong rookie campaign this year. 

Can’t help but to wish Akeson nothing but the absolute best, though.  I know he wasn’t the most popular guy among fans this season, but I can assure you won’t find a nicer athlete off the ice.  As a whole, hockey players are the best to deal with, and he was a shining example of that.

As for Coutu, he did not play on Wednesday.

— Secondly, J.S. Berube was sent down from AHL Albany and was promptly run from tonight’s 4-3 shootout loss in Reading after a game misconduct for checking from behind.  He should likely be suspended for Friday’s home game against Toledo if I understand league policy on that correctly.

— Despite many thinking Dave Caruso had earned the opportunity to get another look in Albany, it was instead Jeff Lerg who was signed to a PTO.  Anthony Felice has been brought back as the emergency backup goaltender.  Remember when there was concern about having too many goalies in Trenton?  Now, you’ve got one and an EBUG.  The move was necessitated when Jeff Frazee again went down with an injury in Albany.  Frazee injured the middle finger on his blocker hand during today’s pre-game skate.  According to Albany head coach Rick Kowalsky, via that link, Frazee should be available next week.

To me, you know what you’ve got with Caruso, and the season is clearly over in Trenton.  If you’re really looking at Lerg as someone you can bring back to the organization, why not give him the string of starts so you can better evaluate him.

— Congratulations to Mike Potacco on his first career goal in Reading tonight.  Say what you want about him getting brought back, but you can’t help but to be happy for the kid. 

— Tony Zancanaro bobblehead night is still on for Friday night.  First 2,000 fans. 

**

— Matt Arhontas, who perhaps could have been an option to fill the roster out with players being shipped off for cash and getting suspended, instead signed with the Reading Royals and played against Trenton last night.  The grinding forward played for four years at Princeton.  Taylor Fedun, the Tigers captain and a senior defenseman, signed a two-year deal with Edmonton on Tuesday.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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12 Responses to “A Lot To Catch Up On”

  1. Titans04 Says:

    Feel better Mike.

    I think most of us have already seen way to much of Lerg already. Frankly I don’t think it would mean a damn thing how he played the rest of the way they’re going do whatever they want with him next year. You’re idea would make sense if performance had anything to do with who comes and who goes. Do you think if he continues to play like crap down the stretch it would mean he wouldn’t be back, sadly I don’t. Sorry to be so cynical but what effort have they made this year to indicate results mattered even a little bit? To me if nothing else we deserve to have the best possible team rolled out the rest of the way. That said if they can trade some more salaries away and swap them for cheaper options I’m sure they’ll do it.

    What are the odds the winless streak and reaches double digits? I bet almost to a man the guys left in the room can’t wait for this trainwreck to come to an end.

  2. tdevils Says:

    Thanks, I should be OK for Friday and Sunday, barring my house floating away.

    If it were up to me, Lerg’s job for 2011-12 is very much so on the line in these final few weeks. As an organization — which has been very patient with him — I’d think that they’d want to give him one last opportunity to show them what he’s got. But there’s also that part of me that thinks it doesn’t matter what he’s done this year…and you can’t help but to say he’s been very disappointing, that he’d have a chance to come back next year.

  3. Titans04 Says:

    Hopefully it’s a sign that they’ve seen enough with Dave getting the last 4 in a row with Lerg working the door for the three he was here for. He could work the door at the AHL level just as well. I would be very surprised regardless of what happens the rest of this year if he’s not back again. There isn’t a single real prospect in the entire org at this point. They have a couple very young draft picks but I don’t think any of them will be coming out of jrs next year but I could be wrong. Odds are we’ll get some undrafted longshot that has no better options.

  4. chiarams Says:

    Have the Devils ever chased any graduating seniors?

    The only they ever signed in the last three years that I can think of is Chris Poli.

    It’s almost like the upper brass isn’t even aware that you can do this.

    I mean – it’s not like they’ve ever gotten any good players this way…

    Zancanaro
    Capraro
    Zappala
    Haggett
    Judy

    It’s not like it’s something someone with an hour and an internet connection can’t work on, but whatever. I’m sure they’re too busy finding a new taker for Coutu. Akeson paid for the gas – Coutu should cover the tolls.

  5. Bradley Says:

    Why can’t they get better players? Is it a lack of cash or poor scouting?

  6. titans04 Says:

    Simple but sad at the same time, if you look at the last decade+ the Devils minor league affiliates haven’t won a single playoff series and if you combine Trenton with Albany/Lowell and wherever else they’ve been they’ve made the playoffs twice in the last 14 seasons. Winning and losing simply doesn’t matter. And no matter how much smoke JVB spewed at the Jersey Tour stop in Trenton when he said up until this season the results in the ECHL we’re unacceptable and they made changes to address it NOTHING has changed. Under the Lamoriello regime it will never change, winning just isn’t a priority and never will be. In fact Lou even said during this past off season if he wanted to ice a Calder Cup winning team every year he could “it’s not that hard”.

    The only thing they care about is a very small handful of guys that they can pin down contract wise on the cheap rather than having to shop the free agent market at the NHL level. When players sign with Trenton they have to accept the restriction of only being called up to Albany. No top free agent is going to limit themselves to that condition. As a result the team will always consist of those players that the Devils have a interest in – and the last decade + certainly speaks for itself when it comes to how that works out when it comes to wins and loses.

    When the devils come to your minor league market it’s nothing but the kiss of death.

    Mike any chance you can reach out to Chris or Modrzynski to get an updated state of the union. I would love to hear what they have to say.

  7. Ashmore Says:

    Can try. Don’t see it going well, but can try.

  8. Bradley Says:

    “When players sign with Trenton they have to accept the restriction of only being called up to Albany. No top free agent is going to limit themselves to that condition”.

    Do you mean other ECHL teams will sign guys and then they are free to go to any NHL team’s AHL affiliate?

  9. Titans04 Says:

    Yes exactly Bradley. There is no other team in the league where if a player only has a ECHL deal where his call-up opportunites are limited to a single club. That’s why you se guys from Reading, Elmira and even Wheeling called up all over the Northeast.

  10. hockey34 Says:

    Yes, there are ECHL teams that allow their players to be called up to any team in the AHL. When Trenton was the Titans, guys wanted to play here because there were so many AHL teams in driving distance there was more of a chance to get called up. Now, unless you have a NJ Devils or Albany contract you are pretty much stuck in Trenton no matter how good you play. I would think not many players want that restriction.

  11. trentondevilsfan Says:

    It looks even more unattractive when you put it this way:

    If you sign an ECHL deal with Trenton and play well you can possibly get called up to Albany.
    If you sign an ECHL deal with anyone else and play well you can get called up to any AHL team except Albany.

    If I were a young guy coming into the ECHL I’d try really hard to sign with Reading or Elmira as guys from there are often called up due to their geographic location related to AHL teams. Pretty much the same situation that used to exist with Trenton.

    Add in the fact that the brass in Newark doesn’t care about the empty seats down here and this is what you get. Only a matter of time before the quite competent Trenton office staff tires of things and moves on to greener pastures.

  12. chiarams Says:

    Look at Roper – great example of a guy who was good at what he does – he couldn’t escape the Devils reign of error fast enough.

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