Three rookie defensemen join Toledo

TOLEDO, Ohio – Defensemen Kevin Clare, Joe Houk and
Olivier Picard have agreed to terms with the Toledo Walleye for the 2014-15 season.

The Walleye are the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League and the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.

Clare joins Toledo after completing his college career at the University of Michigan. In 111 games over four years, the native of New Rochelle, N.Y. posted 24 points (3g-21a) and was a +13. He had a career high 10 assists last year and blocked a team best 81 shots. The 6’1", 195 pound defenseman was part of Michigan’s CCHA regular season championship team in 2010-11 and helped that team reach the Frozen Four as a freshman. Prior to joining the Wolverines, the 22-year-old played for the U.S. National Under-18 and Under-17 teams, registering 27 points (10g-17a) in 116 career games.

Houk spent the last two years at UMass-Lowell where he picked up 19 points (4g-15a) and 90 penalty minutes in 74 games. The native of Richboro, Pa. spent the first two years of his college career at Hamilton College. The 24-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in 2010-11 with 32 points (17g-16a) while leading Hamilton in scoring. The 6’0", 205 pound defenseman helped lead UMass-Lowell to the 2012-13 Hockey East championship.

Picard hails from Cowansville, Quebec and was team captain of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2013-14. In 63 games last season, the 21-year-old posted a career-high seven goals and 26 points while tying his career-best with 19 assists. In four total seasons in the QMJHL, the 6’1", 172 pound defenseman had 77 points (15g-62a) over 224 contests.