Walleye forward Trevor Parkes understands the comparisons to Detroit Red Wings great Tomas Holmstrom and hopes to emulate the success of the big-bodied winger.
Lately Parkes has played more like a prolific goal scorer than Holmstrom, who had a hugely productive career with his physical presence at the net.
Parkes was named the ECHL player of the week on Tuesday. The second-year pro scored six goals and added five assists in four games last week.
Parkes was reassigned to Toledo from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on Feb. 25. Parkes, 21, said he has focused on honing his physical and defensive game at the higher level.
“It’s been nice coming down here and getting confidence,” Parkes said. “I go out and play more of an offensive role here. I get to show the skills I had in juniors.”
In two seasons of junior hockey, Parkes collected 60 goals and 49 assists. He signed a entry-level contract with the Red Wings in September, 2010.
Parkes, who spent most of his first two seasons in Grand Rapids, said there are many “high-end skill guys” in the Red Wings organization. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound forward said to reach the highest level, he must find his role.
“I like to get physical and get in front of the net,” Parkes said. “That may be where I fit in. I’m a bigger guy, and if I want to make it to NHL … I have to be a strong defensive guy. I won’t be [Pavel] Datsyuk. I want to be physical and help on the penalty-kill side.”
Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said Parkes’ presence has helped reignite the team’s power play.
“Having a guy like Parkes here recently, he’s a big body like Tomas Holmstrom,” Vitucci said. “He’s in front of the net causing havoc. He deflects pucks and is hard to move. He’s had a couple nice tip-ins and guys have gotten chances from that.”
Holmstrom, who announced his retirement in January, finished with 530 points in 1,026 games. Holmstrom, who was 6-foot and 198 pounds, produced most of his 243 goals with a willingness to take a beating in front of the net.
“It’s tough for them losing a guy like that,” Parkes said. “It would be tough to match what Tomas Holmstrom would do. But that was kind of the role I played in junior [hockey]. I like to be that big body in front on the power play. That was my bread and butter.”
Parkes played in just four games for the Walleye during his rookie season last year. But he scored four goals in those games.
He started last week tallying two goals and an assist in a 5-4 shootout loss at Fort Wayne. He followed that with an assist in a 6-3 loss Thursday at Evansville.
Parkes scored three goals and added an assist in a 7-1 win Saturday against Evansville, then registered three points in a 5-4 overtime loss against Trenton on Sunday.
Parkes, who had appeared in three games earlier this season with Toledo, has eight goals and seven assists in seven games.
Parkes, a native of Fort Erie, Ontario, said he has had only one other hat trick in his career. That came in his first season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Montreal Juniors.
“It was in the back of my mind,” Parkes said. “It was a breath of relief to get one. They don’t come along very often. It’s a special thing.”
In Grand Rapids, Parkes collected nine points in 34 games with the Griffins, who are in first place. Now, he said he his focused on helping the Walleye solidify their position in the ECHL playoff race.
“I just come down here have fun and enjoy the role I get here,” Parkes said. “I try to help this team win. You’re playing in a packed building every night and making the playoffs is what you play for.”
Toledo (31-20-9) is second in the North Division and fifth out of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference. The top eight qualify. The Walleye next play Friday at first-place Cincinnati and Saturday at Kalamazoo.
Parkes, who led the QMJHL with 12 power play goals in 2010-11 and led his team with 33 goals, said he hopes to remain hot no matter what it takes.
“Not every goal will be pretty,” Parkes said. “I'm happy picking up the trash.”
FISH TALES: D Cody Lampl returned to the team on Tuesday after a call up to Grand Rapids. Lampl collected one assist in one game with the Griffins during the weekend. ... Lampl, 26, has appeared in 53 games this season with the Walleye, netting five goals with eight assists.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.