Landry Provides Crunch with Depth on Defense

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Charles Landry provides the Syracuse Crunch with something coach Rob Zettler believes is critical.

The defenseman, who has spent most of the last two seasons in the ECHL, gives the Crunch a dependable option in case of injury. Zettler knows what he can expect, even though Landry has played less than a dozen games in a Syracuse sweater.

"Whenever he's been in there and given the chance to play, he's played well," Zettler said. "He does nothing but be a professional out there."

But since Syracuse's blueline is normally filled with veterans like Jean-Philippe Cote and Matt Taormina, as well as young prospects like Luke Witkowski and Nikita Nesterov, there isn't room for Landry on a regular basis.

"The issue is depth," Zettler said. "We had seven healthy guys that we're going to play and we didn't want him not playing hockey. We wanted him to go down and be successful and be a big part of Florida, which he is."

For Landry, who was called up to Syracuse last week, his mindset is the same whether he's with the Crunch or the Florida Everblades. The 22-year-old is focused on what he can control - like his play - as opposed to his place in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

"I have a little bit more responsibility in Florida, but when I'm here, I'm doing what they tell me to do and trying to do my best to help the Crunch to win," Landry said.

In his third year in the professional ranks, Landry has played 117 ECHL games and 35 in the American Hockey League. Most of those AHL contests came in the beginning of his rookie year with the Norfolk Admirals.

"Every year you get better and you get stronger, you learn the game," Landry said. "I'm a better player today than I was two years ago."

Although Landry wasn't with the Admirals when they won the Calder Cup in 2012, the 6-foot defenseman has had experience with winning championships.

Landry was one of Florida’s top defensemen when the Everblades won the Kelly Cup in 2012. He also won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title with Drummondville in 2008-09 under former Lightning coach Guy Boucher.

"That was the first championship in my career," Landry said of winning the title with the Voltigeurs. "That was unbelievable, something that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."

Landry's junior career earned him a shot in Tampa Bay's rookie camp, and he signed with the team shortly after. Although his entry level contract set to expire at the end of this season, he is focused on developing his game.

"Right now, I'm not focusing on that, I'm focusing on my season," Landry said. "We'll see what happens at the end of the season."

Pictured: Crunch defenseman Charles Landry makes a pass during practice at the Onondaga County War Memorial Tuesday.