ECHL: Toledo Walleye See Three Leave to Play Overseas

Photo: Drake Harlett | Inside The Rink

The Toledo Walleye will have a completely different team next season as three more players have committed to play overseas next season. Defensemen Riley Mccourt and Michael Prapavessis will be heading overseas and forward Riley Sawchuk will be heading to Europe.

Walleye suffer major losses

With Sawchuk, Mccourt, and Prapavessis leaving, the total now is six players gone from the 2023-24 roster to play overseas who recently played in the playoffs. They join goaltender John Lehtemon and forwards Brady Gilmour and Jason Willms, who recently made the transition. Big holes to fill, however, the Walleye have always had holes to fill and they have a solid roster every year. This off-season may be different, as Lethemon was a top-tier goaltender.

Sawchuk was a good, solid forward who fit in the middle-six. The center provided a spark to the offense as he came into the lineup ready to go after he was assigned to the Walleye from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL). Last season, Sawchuk played 50 games and produced 25 goals and 27 assists for 52 points.

McCourt was the heart-and-soul of the defense and played hard every night. A defensemen who could play a physical game, he led the way offensively. leading the Walleye in defense scoring and penalty minutes. He scored eight goals and 44 assists for 52 points in 67 games. He also had 120 penalty minutes and was a +27. Big loss on defense for Toledo.

Prapavessis was third in defense scoring with two goals and 17 assists for 19 points. His steady play earned him a call-up to the Texas Stars of the AHL, playing two games with no points. He has a good all-around game, who knew his role, and was consistent in all three zones.

The turnaround for each ECHL team is something to get used to. Less than half of the team returns and have new players in the lineup for the next season via trade, signings, and being sent down from an affiliate. These losses may hurt Toledo short-term but the Walleye have a well-run organization that may be on the phone now to replace those players. This is not a fun process for the fan base but next season’s roster could turn out to be better.

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