Taylor on re-signing Tim Kraus.

It’s not often that an undrafted free-agent hockey player invests the first three years of his pro career in an ECHL team. But the relationship between Tim Kraus and the Ontario Reign is unique. The Garden Grove native is unusually committed to helping his “home-town” team succeed, and the feeling seems to be mutual.

Reign coach Karl Taylor knows what it will take for Kraus get to the next level of pro hockey and is willing to help.

“He’s competing harder and in better shape, but we want to teach our
guys to up our scoring,” Taylor said. “In order to do that, they have to
feel the responsibility to take that shot in a shooting position.
That’s your responsibility.”

Taylor not only wants to coax Kraus to use what he believes is an underutilized shot, but improve on defense, too.

“He’s getting there,” Taylor said, “but we’d like to see him quicker in his stride and anticipation.”

The coach said he noticed the player pressing at the beginning of last season, too, which Kraus initially thought of as a “do-or-die” season for him. Now as a third-year pro, Kraus has learned his lesson. That should prove useful in setting an example for the influx of young players on next year’s squad.

“He definitely put himself in mostly in a bad spot and put himself through it,” Taylor said.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.