ECHL: Toledo Walleye Goaltender Heading Overseas

Toledo Walleye goaltender John Lethemon has announced he has signed with Rauman Luuko, the Finland SM-Liiga league, for the 2024-25 season. He leaves Toledo as one of the more accomplished goaltenders in Toledo hockey history.

Lehtemon had just finished up a successful season with the Walleye, one that fell short of a Kelly Cup. Toledo was eliminated by the Kansas City Mavericks in the Western Conference Final earlier this week. His stellar and reliable play has played a massive role in the success of the team during his time in Toledo. The Walleye were able to make playoff appearances in each season he was between the pipes.

The 6-foot-3 and 190-pound Northville. Michigan native had a stellar career in the Detroit Red Wings organization. With the Red Wings organization, he played for the Walleye and the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League. He also played for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL and the Ontario Reign on the AHL. He won the 2022-23 Nick Vitucci Goaltender of the Year Award, going 18-1-3 with a 1.30 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage.

His ECHL career comes to a close for now but what a time he had. His career ECHL record was 72-24-16 with a 2.62 GAA and a .908 save percentage. His record in a Walleye jersey was simply outstanding, 44-8-5 with a 2.44 GAA in 63 games. He may not have seen an opportunity to make a full transition to the AHL, thus leaving him to sign overseas.

Rauman Lukko is a team in the Finland SM-Liiga league. Last season, they went 6-3-3 in 12 games of the Champions League. Lethemon will be making his debut overseas, as he has always played in the United States. This will be a challenge for him, but he has always risen to it.

Toledo may be in a bad spot as they lose Lethemon. If backup Jan Bednar is not re-signed by today, this will leave the Walleye without a single goaltender signed for the 2024-25 season. The Walleye have always had steady goaltending, and next season should be no different. This is a big loss for Toledo but a big opportunity for Lethemon.

In another transaction, forward Brady Gilmour will also be leaving the Walleye. The 25-year-old forward will be joining the BEMER Pioneers Vorarlberg of the win2day ICE Hockey League. He had one goal and two assists for three points in seven games. He was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 193rd overall in the 2017 NHL Draft.

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