Walleye coach Dan Watson’s end-of-season comments foretell off-season of change for ECHL, AHL teams

Both the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins are going to support an influx of Detroit Red Wings prospects over the next season.

After a year’s worth of Walleye and Griffins retaining the vast majority of their previous season’s playoff rosters in attempts to repeat post-season successes, both teams will have to move forward as the entire organization “trends younger.”

As such, Walleye coach Dan Watson’s comments to Toledo Walleye fans during the team’s end-of-season celebration foretold a summer of change for the Red Wings’ developmental arms, as noted by the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe:

Watson, the second-year coach, said it was important to hold the event to recognize the team’s veterans.

The Walleye were led by a core group of players that have been with the team for several years. The fans offered loud cheers for Bonis, Alden Hirschfeld, Shane Berschbach, A.J. Jenks, Tyler Barnes, and Beau Schmitz.

“There are a lot of guys who have been here since the 14-15 season that may not be returning,” Watson said. “They’ve really turned the culture around here when we were just hoping to get a winning season. Now it’s become, ‘We’re going to make the playoffs. Let’s see how many rounds we can win.’ We’re hoping for bigger and better things next year.”

If you’re interested in following the AHL affiliate’s changes, the Griffins have posted an off-season player tracker, and it’s updated on a regular basis.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.