The Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe reports that Toledo Walleye coach Dan Watson addressed his team’s significant roster turnover at a season-ticket holder event on Tuesday, issuing an honest answer regarding the team’s need to build chemistry and combinations thanks to the number of players they’ve seen exit the organization:
Only five skaters who suited up for Watson last season will be coming back: forwards T.J. Hensick, Shane Berschbach, and Abbott Girduckis, and defensemen Brenden Kotyk and Connor Schmidt. Hensick and Berschbach were the team’s leading scorers.
Last season, Watson brought back only six players from the 2017-18 team that won a Central Division title.
“We’re doing the exact same thing this year with different names,” Watson said. “The quality and character of the people that we’re adding with their skill set … it will be a very dangerous lineup.”
Nine of the 15 players on the roster have appeared in 1,267 total games in the higher-level American Hockey League. Forwards Hensick (653), Zack Phillips (260), Josh Winquist (137), Branden Troock (119), and defensemen Blake Hillman (54), and Brandon Anselmini (27) have all spent time in the AHL.
“We’ll have a little more experience this year,” Watson said. “With the players we’ve signed, we will be faster with a little more skill up front. I think we will be able to defend better on the back end. I think that’s extremely important. It’s something we learned in the finals.”
Continued; as Watson suggests, roster turnover is the nature of the beast in the ECHL.