Monday’s practice notes; updating the roster picture.

The Reign had a full complement of 23 bodies in practice Monday, a group that figures to get smaller soon.

Coach Karl Taylor said he must submit his roster to the ECHL by noon Wednesday, but “usually we try to do it on Tuesday, just to get everything in order.”
Continue reading “Monday’s practice notes; updating the roster picture.” »

ECHL All-Decade ballot announced; Chad Starling is on it.

Voting begins today, and ends Oct. 31, on the ECHL All-Decade ballot, which can be downloaded here. Only one Reign player, past or present, is eligible – defenseman Chad Starling. We discussed Chad’s merits in an earlier blog.

The rules, per

are eligible to vote for up to six forwards, four defensemen, two
goaltenders and one coach on their ballot. Once you have made your
selections, please email them to
Voting will be open until 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 31. Only one ballot
is permitted per email address. Multiple votes by the same email
address will disqualify all votes made by that address.

The ECHL will announce the All-Decade Team, consisting of six forwards,
four defensemen, two goaltenders and one coach, in November.

G. Walker leaves impression in AHL opener.

The Reign didn’t practice on the ice today, so we turn to the AHL for some blog material …

Geoff Walker had an assist and a shootout goal in the Wilkes-Barre Penguins’ 4-3 shootout win on opening night Saturday. He was named first star of the game here. According to the Scranton Times-Tribune,

“I kind of saw that maybe his blocker side was a little weak,” said
winger Geoff Walker, who beat Holtby with a pretty, top-shelf backhand
shot. “He made some real nice glove saves in the third. I think the
mindset from us was, ‘Let’s go blocker and let’s get him moving.’ We did
that and it worked out for us tonight.”

Reign 4, Stockton 0.

Kellen Briggs stopped all 40 shots he faced and the Reign got two goals from defenseman David Walker, one each from new linemates Kyle Kraemer and Tim Kraus. The win evens the Reign’s preseason record at 1-1, having lost 6-2 the night before in Stockton.

Garrett Zemlak sat out the game on the bench, and Mike Zacharias didn’t get in either game at all, but Karl Taylor said he hasn’t made a decision yet on who will back up Martin Jones.

More on that and the rest of the game in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Stockton 6, Reign 2.

The Reign fell in their preseason opener Friday, 6-2 to the Stockton Thunder at Stockton Arena.

Kyle Kraemer and Eric Doyle scored goals, and Martin Jones played all 60 minutes in net, stopping 24 of 30 shots.

Kraemer’s tally evened the game at 1 in the first period with the teams skating 4-on-4; defensemen Reggie Traccitto and Chad Starling notched the assists. Doyle brought the score to 5-2 with his power-pay goal at 11:27 of the third period; fellow rookie forward C.J. Stretch got the lone assist.

Jones, a Kings prospect, was in net for all six goals in his ECHL debut. Kellen Briggs served as the backup but did not make an appearance. Who Karl Taylor plays in goal tonight will be instrumental in determining who makes the opening-day roster along with Jones. Mike Zacharias and Garrett Zemlak are also vying with Briggs for one open spot.

The two teams play again at 6 p.m. tonight at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Hill signs with Manchester Monarchs.

Defenseman Jordan Hill officially joined the Manchester Monarchs Thursday on an American Hockey League tryout agreement.

Hill, a rookie out of the OHL who signed with the Reign this summer, can stay in Manchester for up to 25 games into the season before he has to sign a new deal. He can be released at any time.

It’s a strong vote of confidence for the 6-foot-2 rookie, who pegs as a two-way defenseman with strong leadership skills, per Karl Taylor. The last Reign player to sign a pro tryout contract with the Monarchs was Jon Rheault, who wound up playing a total of 44 AHL games last season between Manchester, Providence and Abbotsford.

Without Hill the Reign have six defensemen: David Walker, Chad Starling, Eric Doyle, Luke Beaverson, Reggie Traccitto and Matt Delahey.

Morrison, Jones coming to Reign.

Jordan Morrison and Martin Jones are coming to the Reign.

Morrison, a forward, was cut from his training-camp tryout with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs while Jones, a goalie, was assigned by the Kings as expected. It’s unknown if they will go straight to Stockton in advance of Friday’s game against the Thunder, or come to Ontario and suit up Saturday against the Thunder – or if either player will be even ready in time for either game.

Regardless, Morrison and Jones will soon bring the number of bodies in camp to 23. Only 20 can dress for each game, but Reign coach Karl Taylor said that one player is nursing an undisclosed injury and another is still awaiting clearance to play.

More about the two preseason games in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

It also means that veteran center Dusty Collins and rookie defenseman Jordan Hill passed their AHL tryouts in San Antonio and Manchester, respectively. The Reign retain the ECHL rights to both players and both will come to Ontario if dropped by their respective teams.

Update from the AHL.

Tomorrow is an important day in the American Hockey League, as teams must submit their rosters by midnight (i.e., one minute after 11:59 p.m. Thursday).

Unlike the NHL, where opening-day rosters were submitted today, there is no league-mandated limit on the number of players an AHL team can keep. However, teams are constrained by their internal budgets, ability to provide housing, lockers and travel, just like the ECHL.

Two Reign players signed to ECHL contracts remain on the Manchester Monarchs’ camp roster: forward Jordan Morrison and defenseman Jordan Hill. The Monarchs have 26 players in camp, and a team spokesperson said another round of cuts are likely tomorrow.

Center Dusty Collins, who re-signed with the Reign this summer, is also in an AHL camp with the San Antonio Rampage. So are 29 other players; no idea when their next round of cuts will come, but count on having some idea where he will start the season by Friday.

Meanwhile, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., former Reign forward Geoff Walker is one of six players on the bubble for one of the AHL Penguins’ final “two or three” forward positions. Penguins coach John Hynes told the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader that Walker might also play center — always a good sign when a coach is willing to try a position switch just to keep a player on his roster. Walker didn’t play any center the last two seasons with the Reign.

Keep in mind also that the Reign can still receive compensation from the Wheeling Nailers in exchange for Walker’s ECHL rights. Reign coach Karl Taylor said that the more games Walker plays in Wheeling, the better player(s) he can receive in return.