Sturdy defenseman Cody Lampl will bring his puck-moving style and physical edge back to the Toledo Walleye lineup this season.
Lampl, who led the team in penalty minutes last season, re-signed with Toledo on Friday.
“Honestly there's no place I'd rather be,” Lampl said. “I play hard every shift and that is what Toledo is all about. It's a hard-working town. But at the same time, the people are so nice. I just try to be the best teammate I can be.”
Lampl, 27, set career highs with six goals and 14 points last year.
“We saw firsthand last season the high competition level that Cody plays with,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “He is a proven defenseman that is strong in all facets of the game.”
Lampl, who will enter his fifth year as a pro, led the team with 127 penalty minutes.
“I try to play physical,” Lampl said. “I try not to take too many minor penalties. If I'm putting my team down a man that's not always the best stat. So I've done a decent job of getting fighting majors or coincidental penalties.”
Lampl also set a Walleye franchise record in plus/minus rating with a plus-20 last season.
“I think part of the reason is because I played with a lot of good players,” Lampl said. “I try to play the best defense that I can and make the first pass. My job is to get the puck to the forwards in a good spot. You take care of your own end and good things happen.”
Lampl said he takes pride in being the hardest guy on the ice to play against, which he said the Toledo fans seem to appreciate. He also is perhaps the most heavily tattooed player in the ECHL. Both arms are sleeved with ink and he also has large pieces that span his chest, stomach, and back.
One group of fans dubbed Lampl — a native of Ketchum, Idaho — the “Idaho Assassin.”
“A few guys who are Walleye fans made up some T-shirts,” Lampl said. “The guys in the locker room went crazy for them. It kind of stuck. It's hard not to like it. I think it's funny. You can't take yourself too seriously. Plus I love anything with Idaho in it.
“Toledo has the best fans I've ever played for and they make you want to play hard.”
Lampl has played in 216 games for ECHL teams in Las Vegas, Idaho, Utah, and in two games in the American Hockey League with Abbotsford and Grand Rapids. He has a total of 322 penalty minutes and 58 points (8 goals, 50 assists) as a pro.
Lampl played four seasons at Colorado College before turning pro at the tail end of the team’s 2008-09 season. In his first full pro season, he helped lead the Idaho Steelheads to the ECHL finals.
Lampl said he has unfinished business in Toledo after the Walleye qualified for the playoffs but were bounced in the first round after six games.
“We laid a foundation last year as far as getting into the playoffs. I want to see more stories built on that,” Lampl said. “Every game in the playoffs was winnable. I think the core of the team will be back.”
The Walleye season starts on Oct. 19 and the home opener is slated for Oct. 26.