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Lowell Devils sign four players

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
Rheaume, seen here in 2005-06, was a member of the Devils' '03 Stanley Cup title. – The Lowell Devils, the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, today signed four players:  goaltenders Dave Caruso and Jason Smith;  defenseman Ryan Gunderson;  and forward Pascal Rheaume. 

Caruso, 26, returns to the organization after splitting the 2007-08 season between the ECHL (34 games) and AHL (16 games) Devils.  The 6-1, 210-lb. netminder finished the season tied for the Trenton lead with 13 wins and two shutouts, while leading the team with a 2.59 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.  Caruso joined the Devils after beginning his professional career in the Thrashers’ organization in 2006-07. The native of Queens, N.Y., spent four seasons, 2002-03 through 2005-06 at Ohio State (CCHA), and was an all-conference honorable mention in 2005 and 2006.

Smith, 23, spent the entire 2007-08 season with Trenton, where he tied Caruso for the team lead with 13 victories and two shutouts.  The 6-1, 195-lb. goaltender joined the organization after a four-season collegiate career at Sacred Heart (Atlantic Hockey).  While with the Pioneers, Smith was named to Atlantic Hockey’s First All-Star Team following his junior and senior seasons. He was New Jersey’s fifth choice, and 197th overall selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Smith hails from St. Lambert, Que.

Gunderson, who will turn 23 later this month, saw action in all 72 games with Trenton last season.  He finished first among the team’s defensemen, and third overall with 46 points, while his 42 assists were tops.  At 5-11, 180-lbs., Gunderson was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team, and played in the ECHL All-Star Game last season.  A native of Bensalem, Penn., Gunderson also appeared in three games with Lowell upon completion of the ECHL regular-season.  He began his pro career with Columbia (ECHL) on March 16, 2007, after four seasons at Vermont (Hockey East).

Rheaume, 35, returns for his fourth tour of duty with the Devils’ organization, and the 16th season of his professional career.  During that time, the 6-1, 210-lb. center has seen action at both the AHL and NHL levels, while playing in 35 games with Vienna (Aus.) last season.  Rheaume has five goals and one assist for six points in 35 games played with New Jersey.  He was a member of its 2003 Stanley Cup Championship team.  Born in Quebec City, Que., Rheaume has career totals of 163 goals and 214 assists for 377 points and 438 penalty minutes in 531 career AHL contests.  Not drafted, he first signed with New Jersey as a free agent on October 1, 1993.
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