Walleye start the offseason with a bang

The Toledo Walleye 2022-23 season started, in a sense, with a pair of signings. Forward Brandon Hawkins and defenseman Simon Denis have both agreed to terms with the Walleye for the 2022-23 season.

Hawkins, the Macomb, Michigan native, played his first full season in a Walleye uniform in 2021-22 and led the team with 35 goals. That came up one goal shy of the Walleye single season record. His 64 total points were second on the team and that was accomplished in just 52 games played. The 28-year-old went on to lead all ECHL players in the playoffs with 33 points (15G, 18A) in just 21 games. He set Walleye playoff records in goals (15), assists (18) and points (33).

In his ECHL career, Hawkins has averaged a point-per-game with 136 (74G, 62A) in 136 regular season games with Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Wheeling. Prior to turning professional, he skated with Bowling Green and Northeastern. In college, Hawkins had 108 points (46G, 62A) in 141 total contests. That includes 80 games played for the Falcons with 29 goals and 27 assists.

Denis returns to the Walleye after three years playing in Japan. The native of Burnaby, British Columbia, last played for Toledo in the 2017-18 season, his second with the Walleye. In total he appeared in 119 games for the Walleye with 21 goals, 69 assists, and 90 points while playing as a plus-58. His plus-40 in the 2016-17 campaign remains a single season Walleye record. He also is tied with JC Sawyer for the most career Walleye goals by a defenseman with 21 and his 69 assists is a Walleye defenseman career record.

“Today is a huge step in getting to where we want to be and that’s finishing the task of bringing a championship to Toledo,” stated coach Dan Watson. “We know what both of these players bring to our team. On and off the ice it’s a high complete level combined with elite talent.”

Over the last three years, Denis has appeared in 111 games with 23 goals, 71 assists, and 94 points. He was a plus-33 combined in those contests. Prior to turning professional, the 30-year-old played college hockey at Ferris State University, appearing in 141 games with 15 goals, 45 assists, and 38 penalty minutes while helping the Bulldogs to a WCHA playoff championship in 2016.




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