TOLEDO, OH – Toledo was in need of some more defensemen heading into September, but head coach Dan Watson took a big step toward solidifying the defensive core with their latest signing. Back for a third season with the Walleye is veteran Beau Schmitz.
You could certainly argue that Schmitz fits the role of a prototypical defenseman. After watching him for the last two seasons, the best way I can describe him is that you don’t notice when he is on the ice because he rarely makes the kind of mistakes that get him noticed. Disciplined with the puck, hard working, and focused are all applicable to Schmitz’s play style. Although he doesn’t make a habit of it, hard hits and a few punches thrown are also in the arsenal of the Michigan native.
Experience and leadership will be two of his most important attributes this season though, as Toledo’s blue line is currently very green with Brock Beukeboom and Parker Reno both being rookies. Although by no means a goal scorer like fellow defenseman Simon Denis, Schmitz can still contribute in the offensive zone.
In 67 regular season games last year, Schmitz lit the lamp four times, and had career highs in assists (31), points (35), plus/minus rating (plus-25). Obviously being on an offensive team like Toledo helps, but Schmitz has thrived in coach Dan Watson’s system. The speed and skill set fits Beau well, even though he may not be the quickest skater on the ice. His good vision allows him to hit his forwards with clean passes, which has allowed Toledo to cash in multiple times. Watson uses him effectively both on special teams and in overtime situations.
The Walleye still have a bit of work to do to be ready for the season, but their recent signings continue to point toward another strong team. Heading into the final month of the offseason, Toledo is down to one remaining veteran spot, so look for that to be filled this month,
Keep your eyes peeled on our 2017 ECHL Transactions page as we draw closer to training camp!