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Published: Tuesday, 8/16/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Wings, Walleye strike deal

BY BLADE STAFF

The renewal of an affiliation agreement with the Detroit Red Wings means the Toledo Walleye will likely have a quality goaltender for the upcoming season.

The Walleye reached the affiliation agreement with the Red Wings today. Toledo has had the same contract with Detroit for the first two years of the Walleye organization’s existence.

The Walleye will once again serve as the Red Wings’ ECHL affiliate. The Walleye also will work to develop prospects with Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“It’s a first class organization,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “They take great pride in building from within through the draft and developing through their [minor league] system. It’s a great opportunity for us to be a part of a Stanley Cup contender.”

The current agreement likely means that Detroit, which has five goalies in its system, will assign one of its netminders to Toledo.

“If you do the simple math it looks like we would get one,” Vitucci said. “They haven’t said at all who we would get. There will be a great battle throughout the Grand Rapid camp. It’s certainly in their hands. Whoever we are going to get is going to be a good, quality netminder.”

Either Jordan Pearce or Thomas McCollum will likely filter down and end up being the No. 1 goalie for the Walleye. Both have spent time in Toledo the past two seasons.

McCollum, a first round draft choice of the Wings in 2008, has spent parts of the first two seasons of his pro career with the Walleye.
Pearce, who started his career in Toledo in 2009, spent most of last season in Grand Rapids. Pearce had a 2.89 goals against average for the Griffins.



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