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Tyler Barnes returns to Walleye

08/10/2017, 6:35pm EDT
By By MARK MONROE BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Barnes earned the ECHL rookie of the year award after he scored 34 goals and 40 assists in 2014-15


Tyler Barnes, who set a franchise record for points in 2014-15, is back in Toledo. BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH

The Walleye have brought back one of the most prolific scorers in team history.

Forward Tyler Barnes, who set a franchise record for points in a season in 2014-15, re-signed with Toledo on Thursday.

Barnes, a 27-year-old from Burnsville, Minn., racked up 74 points in just 71 games the last time he suited up for the Walleye. Barnes earned the ECHL rookie of the year award after he scored 34 goals and dished out 40 assists to lead the team in scoring in 2014-15.

Barnes started his professional career in Toledo during the record-setting year.

The 6-foot, 198-pound forward played for Missouri, Indy, and Allen over the last two seasons.

Barnes was on a productive line with Shane Berschbach and Troy Schwab that clicked all season in 2014-15 and finished as the team's top three scorers. Barnes' 74 points stood as the Walleye single-season record until Berschbach, who re-signed with the Walleye on Monday, broke it last year. Berschbach set single-season Walleye records with 68 assists and 86 points last season.

Barnes was named to the ECHL all-rookie team in 2015.

“We saw firsthand three years ago how tremendous a hockey player Tyler can be,” Walleye coach Dan Watson. “He is a tireless worker that is an offensive force on the ice.”

Overall, the forward has tallied 161 points with 69 goals and 92 assists in 166 ECHL contests. Barnes also has appeared in 36 career games in the higher level American Hockey League with Bridgeport, Grand Rapids, San Antonio, and Rockford with eight goals and three assists.

Barnes helped the Walleye break 44 records in 2014-15 under coach Derek Lalonde, who led the team to the greatest turnaround in ECHL history in his first season. The Walleye posted an overall record of 50-15-7 during the regular season and then had an 11-5-5 record in the Kelly Cup playoffs.

The team captured the Brabham Cup for the best regular season record and it posted the greatest point turnaround in 27-year history of the ECHL, going from 49 points to 107.

Barnes split last season between Rockford of the AHL and Indy and Allen of the ECHL. He scored four times with three assists in 25 games in the AHL while he added 11 goals and 16 assists in 26 games between the Fuel and Americans.

Barnes followed up his 74-point campaign with the Walleye with another strong ECHL performance with Missouri in 2015-16. He produced 61 points (24 G, 37 A) while playing for the Mavericks.

Prior to turning professional, Barnes spent four seasons at the University of Wisconsin. He scored 45 goals with 58 assists in 152 games for the Badgers.

The Walleye's roster is starting to come together after the signing of Barnes, Berschbach, and A.J. Jenks this week. The trio joins captain Alden Hirschfeld as forwards who have re-signed with the team.

Contact Mark Monroe at mmonroe@theblade.com419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.

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