TOLEDO, Ohio – The Walleye organization and fanbase thought their roster moves were complete when the trade deadline came and went last Thursday. Two trades had occurred to help Toledo ready themselves for the playoffs, as defenseman Davis Vandane was sent to Atlanta for forward Colin Jacobs, while in a separate transaction, forward Erik Bradford went across the border to Brampton for defenseman Jamie Doornbosch. As it would turn out, Toledo’s roster moves were far from over.
On Monday, the Walleye learned that despite telling Brampton officials he would report to Toledo, Doornbosch chose instead to go down a different path. Originally, the Ontario native had been delayed from joining the team due to immigration issues. As Toledo knows all too well by now though, there were definitely other reasons for the delay. Opting instead to leave hockey for another career, Toledo was left without the defenseman while Brampton maintains possession of Bradford, who was Toledo’s leading scorer. Doornbosch was suspended by Toledo for the rest of the season as a result. It was determined that Brampton must compensate Toledo with a player by June 13th, but that may or may not occur before the playoffs begin. Long story short, Toledo had to look elsewhere for a defenseman.
In Doornbosch’s place, the Walleye have brought on rookie blueliner Jared Wilson. Wilson joins Toledo after completing his senior season of hockey as the captain of the Rensselaer Polytech Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team. RPI had a rough 2017-18 season, as they finished with a record of 6-27-4. As a member of the Rensselaer Engineers, Wilson played in 151 games with 27 goals and 25 assists to go along with 192 penalties in minutes and a plus/minus rating of minus 36. For now, he is signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO), but it is believed he will remain with the team for the rest of the year per Mark Monroe of the Toledo Blade. Fellow rookie Dalton Carter (D) was released from his ATO to make room for Wilson.
Prior to the fiasco that unfolded surrounding Doornbosch, Toledo was sent a forward from Grand Rapids, as Luke Esposito returned once again. In 13 games for the Walleye this season, Esposito has two goals and three assists. The young forward has also seen 17 games for Grand Rapids and has two assists in those contests, but limited ice time due to an abundance of forwards has caused him to bounce between Toledo and Grand Rapids. Ahead of a four-game road trip, Toledo will need his talents, especially if Shane Berschbach misses time due to a high-sticking injury sustained against Quad City on Saturday.
Over the course of two days, the Walleye roster has undergone some changes. The roster is still packed with talent, now it is a matter of making it all work together as the playoffs creep closer and closer. This road trip will be a good test, especially when Toledo plays in three different cities over three consecutive days this weekend.