ECHL: Toledo Walleye Roster Has Nice Blend for Playoff Run

Hector Urica/InsideTheRink

The Toledo Walleye are in the stretch run for the playoffs, looking good in their current position. They are first in the Central Division with 85 points but are third in the Western Conference, 10 points behind the Kansas City Mavericks. The roster has everything that would make them contenders for the Kelly Cup, putting them into an elite company. From veterans to bottom-pairing players, the roster is loaded and should play a factor in the playoff chase.

Toledo Walleye Bring in Reinforcements for Second-Half Surge

With a 13-point lead over the Indy Fuel in the Central Division, things are good for the Walleye. There is plenty of praise from Head Coach Pat Mikesch to General Manager Neil Nuekam, the team is locked and loaded. If you’re looking for veteran leadership, there is forward Brandon Hawkins, Conlan Keenan, and newcomer defenseman Jacob Graves. Want secondary scoring? There is Mitchell Lewandoski, Orrin Centazzo, and defenseman Riley McCourt. Then there is the young talent, including Trenton Bliss, Riley Sawchuk, and Matt Anderson. The goaltending duo, which will be critical down the stretch, has John Lethemon and Jan Bednar.

They have added some players that should increase the chances of winning the division and possibly the Kelly Cup. Forwards Ricky Lyle and Noah Prokop, who has been placed on reserve, were signed in to solidify the forward group and add some talent that could help in the grind of the playoffs. The Walleye added Graves through a trade with the Atlanta Gladiators for defenseman Jake Willets and forward Carson Denomie. Toledo recently got Centazzo back from the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League and Trenton Bliss from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Toledo also signed defenseman Cole Cameron. Those moves alone would put the Walleye toward the top of the league in talent.

This team is well-rounded from top to bottom. From veterans to young players, offensive stars to defensive wizards, and young goaltenders to ECHL Goaltender of the Year. Mikesch has a good group of players this season and has done a tremendous job getting this team ready to be a contender from Game 1. Leadership and dedication go a long way when a group of players is determined to show the league what they are about.

Of course, the games played on the ice, and we cannot be crowning champions on paper. However, this team has not been down many times this season, and the group from day one has been together for the better part of the season. This helps Toledo as it builds chemistry and lets the players build off each other on the ice and in difficult times. Unless there is a big change with this roster, look for them to compete for the Kelly Cup this season, with a good chance to go deep in the playoffs.

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