Walleye add physical presence

Toledo signs forward, defenseman to bolster team roster


The Toledo Walleye signed physical forward Emerson Clark and tough defenseman Garrett Clarke on Monday.

Clark, a native of Whitby, Ontario, has skated the last four years in the Ontario Hockey League. He played last season with the Windsor Spitfires in the premiere junior league.

In 63 games last season, the 20-year-old posted seven goals, 11 assists, and 131 penalty minutes. The 5-10, 185-pound forward has 496 penalty minutes during the last four years, which includes 72 fighting majors.

“Emerson is a tough, physical, and strong young man,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said.

Vitucci compared Clark’s style to former Walleye enforcer Adam Keefe, who still is the franchise leader with 243 penalty minutes.

“[Clark] will bring a ton of energy into our lineup each and every night,” Vitucci said.

Clarke, 20, spent last season with the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League and posted one goal, three assists, and 223 penalty minutes in 54 games.

The native of Windsor, Ontario spent the previous five seasons playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot, 198-pound defenseman appeared in 203 career games in the QMJHL, scoring 27 goals with 97 assists and 540 penalty minutes.

“Garrett has very good skill and toughness,” Vitucci said. “He is strong in his own zone and has the upside to play in any situation.”

FROESE SCORES TWICE: Walleye forward Byron Froese scored two goals in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 preseason win Sunday over the Detroit Red Wings.

Froese, who played in 38 games for Toledo last season, scored the game-winner in the third period and was named the game’s No. 1 star. Froese led the Walleye in the playoffs with a team-high six points last season. He scored two goals and had four assists.

Froese has split time between Chicago’s American Hockey League team in Rockford and Toledo the last two seasons. He has 13 goals and 22 assists in 41 regular-season games for the Walleye.

Toledo’s season opener is Oct. 19 at Fort Wayne. The Walleye home opener is Oct. 26 against Wheeling.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.