Toledo goalie Jeff Lerg will return to Europe for next season after coming back to play for the Walleye this season. BLADE PHOTO
Goaltender Jeff Lerg, who has played in 122 games for the Walleye, has opted to return to Europe next season after coming back to Toledo in the middle of last season.
Lerg signed a contract today to play for a team based in France. The 31-year-old will play next season for the Gap Rapaces.
Lerg, a native of Livonia, Mich., has played in two and a half seasons for the Walleye. He helped transform the Walleye into a championship-caliber organization in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Lerg appeared in 92 regular-season games and 30 playoff games for Toledo.
Lerg has played in the United States, Italy, Denmark, and France in his seven seasons as a pro.
Last summer, Lerg signed with a club based in Denmark and played in 23 games for Rungsted. He was 13-7-3 and had a 2.59 goals-against average.
But at the end of January, Lerg decided to return to the Walleye organization. Lerg said he had unfinished business in Toledo. He also said he had an up and down experience in Europe.
Lerg played in five games for Toledo during the regular season. He became Toledo's No. 1 goalie in the playoffs after starter Jake Paterson was injured in Game 7 of Toledo's opening-round series against Kalamazoo.
Lerg then appeared in 10 games in the Kelly Cup playoffs. He posted a 6-3-1 record with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
The 5-foot-6 and 163-pound netminder became known for his unparalleled work ethic and unique rituals. Lerg earned All-ECHL second team honors in his first two seasons with the Walleye.
He backstopped Toledo to a Brabham Cup title for the best record in the ECHL during the 2014-15 regular season. He also led the Walleye to back-to-back Eastern Conference regular-season championships.
The runner-up for ECHL goaltender of the year in 2015-16, Lerg posted a 28-11-3 record. He also set new single-season Walleye records with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.
Lerg also had led Michigan State University to an NCAA championship in 2007.