Newark, NJ – The Devils and the American Hockey League’s Lowell Devils today announced the signings of eight players: goaltenders Gerald Coleman and Jeff Lerg; defenseman Rob Davison; and forwards Stephen Gionta, Kyle Kucharski, Brad Mills, Jeff Prough, and Ben Walter.
Coleman, 24, spent the majority of the 2008-09 season with Trenton. While with the ECHL Devils last year, he led the team with 40 games played, 27 victories, three shutouts, a .915 save percentage, and 2.38 goals-against average. The 6-5, 215-lb. goaltender has also seen action with Tampa Bay (NHL), and Springfield and Portland (AHL) during his four-season professional career. He was selected by the Lightning with its fifth pick and 224th overall selection in the 2003 Entry Draft. Born April 3, 1985 in Romeoville, IL, he also played with London (OHL) and the United States Development Team prior to his professional career.
Lerg, 23, joins the organization after playing four seasons at Michigan State University (CCHA), winning the NCAA Championship in 2006-07. While with the Spartans, he recorded a 76-51-17 mark with 12 shutouts, and a 2.38 goals-against average in 146 games played. The 5-6, 155-lb. netminder was named the league’s Rookie of the Year and Tournament MVP in 2006, as well as USA Hockey’s College Player of the Year in 2007. He was also named to the Frozen Four All- Tournament Team in 2007 and the CCHA First All-Star Team in 2008. Born April 9, 1986 in Livonia, MI, he played two seasons in the USHL, leading the league in wins (36), shutouts (6), and goals-against average (2.16) while with Omaha in 2004-05.
Davison, 29, will enter his tenth professional season after spending 2008-09 with Vancouver. The 6-3, 220-lb. defenseman recorded two assists and 51 penalty minutes in 23 appearances last season. Davison has three goals and 15 assists for 18 points and 321 penalty minutes in 218 career regular-season NHL contests with San Jose, NY Islanders, and Vancouver. Born May, 1, 1980 in St. Catharines, Ont., he was San Jose’s fourth choice, and 98th overall selection in the 1998 Entry Draft. Davison played his junior hockey with North Bay (OHL) from 1997-98 through 1999-00.
Gionta, 25, will enter his fourth year with the organization, having spent the past three seasons at Lowell (AHL). He recorded two goals and nine assists for 11 points and 30 penalty minutes, while appearing in 52 games for the AHL Devils in 2008-09. Gionta turned pro upon the completion of his collegiate career by appearing in three games with Albany (AHL) in 2005-06. He has 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points and 80 penalty minutes in 185 career AHL appearances. Born October 9, 1983 in Rochester, NY, he signed with the organization as a free agent after four seasons at Boston College (HE). Gionta totaled 33 goals and 57 assists for 90 points and 182 penalty minutes in 151 games with the Golden Eagles.
Kucharski, 22, spent the past four years at Boston College (HE), and was a member of its 2007-08 NCAA Championship team. He appeared in 37 games for the Eagles last season, posting career highs with ten goals, seven assists, and 17 points. The 6-3, 200-lb. forward had career totals of 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points and 73 penalty minutes in 112 games from 2005-06 through 2008-09. During his collegiate career, Boston College won the Hockey East Championship twice (2006-07 and 2007-08). Kucharski was born March 6, 1987 in Saugus, MA.
Mills, 26, is entering his third full professional season. In 2008-09, he recorded five goals and 16 assists for 21 points and 108 penalty minutes in 75 appearances with Lowell. The 6-0, 195-lb. forward split the 2007-08 season between the ECHL (26 games) and AHL (16) Devils. He joined the organization in 2006-07 following a four-year career at Yale University (ECAC). Born May 3, 1983 in Terrace, B.C., he tallied 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points and 152 penalty minutes in 96 games for the Bulldogs.
Prough, 23, spent the majority of the 2008-09 campaign with Trenton. Last season, he finished first on the ECHL Devils with 31 goals, was tied for fifth with 30 assists, and second with 61 points. The 5-10, 170-lb. forward made his professional debut by appearing in nine ECHL contests in 2007-08 following a four-season collegiate career at Brown University (ECAC). While with the Bears, he totaled 49 goals and 60 assists for 109 points and 134 penalty minutes in 127 contests. Born April 20, 1986 in Farmington Hills, MI, he led the school in scoring during each of his last three seasons.
Walter, 25, was acquired June 30, 2009 from the NY Islanders, along with future considerations, for the rights to forward Tony Romano. He saw action with both New York and Bridgeport (AHL) during each of the past two campaigns. The 6-1, 195-lb. son of former NHLer Ryan Walter also split the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons between Boston (NHL) and Providence (AHL). He was the Bruins’ fifth choice and 160th overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Born May 11, 1984 in Beaconsfield, Que., he played three seasons at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (HE) prior to his professional career.