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Lowell signs veteran forward Rheaume, three others

The AHL’s Lowell Devils today announced the signings of forward Pascal Rheaume, goaltenders Dave Caruso and Jason Smith, and defenseman Ryan Gunderson.

Rheaume 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-pound center has seen action at both the AHL and NHL levels, while playing in 35 games with Vienna (Austria) last season.

Rheaume (right) posted 47 points (15-32-47) in 79 games for the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage in 2006-07, his most recent North American action. He has totaled 377 points (163-214-377) in 531 career regular-season AHL games with Albany, Worcester, Hartford, and San Antonio.

A Quebec native, Rheaume has also contributed 29 points (8-21-29) in 50 career AHL playoff games, and he won the Calder Cup in 1995 with Albany.

The 35-year-old Rheaume, who went on to win the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003, shows 91 points (39-52-91) in 318 career NHL games with the Devils, St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, the New York Rangers, and Phoenix.

Caruso, 26, returns to the organization after splitting the 2007-08 season between the ECHL’s Trenton Devils (34 games) and AHL’s Lowell Devils (16 games). The 6-1, 210-pound netminder finished the season with a 7-8-0 record and a 3.29 GAA in 16 games for Lowell and went 13-16-4 with a 2.59 GAA for Trenton. Born in Queens, NY, he spent four seasons 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-pound 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. The St. Lambert, Que., native was originally drafted by New Jersey in 2003.

Gunderson, who will turn 23 later this month, saw action in all 72 games with Trenton last season as a first-year pro. He finished first among the team’s defensemen, and third overall, with 46 points, while his 42 assists were tops.

The 5-11, 180-pound defenseman was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team, and played in the ECHL All-Star Game last season. He also appeared in three games with Lowell upon completion of the ECHL regular season. Gunderson turned pro following a four-year collegiate career at the University of Vermont (Hockey East).