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Published: Saturday, 7/12/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Walleye reserve rights to defenseman Lampl, 7 others

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Walleye have reserved the rights to eight players. Toledo extended a qualifying offer to defenseman Cody Lampl along with seven other players.

The organization also has reserved the ECHL rights to forwards Alden Hirschfeld, Travis Novak, William Rapuzzi, Matt Abercrombie, Trevor Bruess, Jesse Messier, along with Lampl and fellow defenseman Corey Fienhage.

Lampl did not play for Toledo last season after he was called up to the American Hockey League. But the 28-year-old from Ketchum, Idaho, played in 64 games for Toledo in 2012-13 and became a fan favorite with his high-competitive level and physical play.

Lampl said it's “the best feeling in the world” to be wanted by his former team.

“They are a special organization,” Lampl said. “If I'm in the ECHL, that is where I want to play. Toledo is the best in the league. It makes me feel good that they want me.”

Lampl scored a career-high six goals in the regular season and added a goal and an assist in six playoff games that season. He also led the team with 127 penalty minutes.

“The Toledo fans want to see effort and that is what I try to do,” Lampl said. “They want someone to sell out for them. They want to see that effort and they appreciate it. Toledo has the most passionate fans.”

Lampl signed with the St. John's IceCaps prior to last season and played in 38 games. He did not record a point but had 32 penalty minutes. He currently is rehabbing from an injury he suffered late in the season. The free agent said he would be “honored” to play again in Toledo if that is how the process plays out.

Toledo owns the ECHL rights to Lampl and the seven other players. The qualifying offers must remain open for acceptance until Aug. 1. Most will likely pursue opportunities at the AHL level as Lampl did last off season.

Hirschfeld, who played in high school at Northview, played the bulk of last season with the Walleye. He appeared in 49 games before he was called up to Grand Rapids of the AHL. The Sylvania native had 29 points with nine goals and 20 assists with Toledo.

Rapuzzi, who was among a host of players acquired by the team in late season trades, was the ECHL's rookie of the year last season. He collected 58 points with 16 goals and 42 assists in 60 games with Idaho.

Novak has played the majority of the last two seasons in Toledo. Novak has 22 goals and 44 assists in 112 games for the Walleye.

Abercrombie made his pro debut with the Walleye late last season after a college career at Brock University. He posted 11 points with four goals and seven assists in 21 games.

Messier also was among a handful of rookies that the organization signed right out of college. Messier, who played at York University in Ontario, had five points (3 G, 2 A) in 18 games.

Bruess, who also was acquired in a trade, skated in 61 games for the Florida Everblades and had 37 points last season. Bruess had 14 goals to go along with a career-high 23 assists.

Fienhage, whose rights also were acquired in a trade, appeared in 63 games for Orlando of the ECHL last season. He tallied 17 points (2 G, 15 A) in 63 games.

GOALIE RE-SIGNS: Former Walleye goalie Thomas McCollum will remain in the Detroit Red Wings system after signing a one-year contract.

McCollum became the first player in Walleye history to be called up to the NHL when he suited up for the Red Wings on March 30, 2011.

McCollum played in 23 games for Toledo in 2010-11. He had a 11-9-2 record with a 2.76 goals-against average. He appeared in 15 games for the Walleye in 2011-12 and was 6-6-2 and a 2.62 GAA.

McCollum, 24, did not play for Toledo last season and appeared in 46 games for Grand Rapids.

The native of Sanborn, N.Y. had a 2.30 goals-against average and was 24-12-4 with the Griffins.

Toledo will likely be sent one of three goalies that are on Grand Rapids' roster. Former Walleye goalies Petr Mrazek and Jared Coreau will be competing with McCollum for playing time.

The Red Wings also have rookie goalie Jake Paterson in the farm system. Paterson, who played the last four seasons for the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, signed a three-year entry-level contract with Detroit last September. 

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



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