Tim Kraus may have been the least surprised of anyone when he was placed on waivers Friday.
An original member of the Reign, the center from Garden Grove had been a healthy scratch in four straight games.
“I suggested to Karl that I wanted to be moved and he tried to move me, I believe,” Kraus said. “I think I talked to him early in the week. I think he tried to get me into a good situation but it wasn’t going to happen through trade.”
The 23-year-old had five assists in his first five games, but had only one assist and no goals in his last 11.
It was a surprising downward turn considering that Kraus was the Reign’s co-leader in scoring during the inaugural 2008-09 season, when he had 48 points (15 goals, 33 assists). He improved in all the major statistical categories the following season, posting 16 goals, 37 assists and a plus-7 rating.
Kraus looked like he would pick up where he left off when he quickly jelled with Aaron Lewadniuk and Kyle Kraemer, a trio that combined for three goals and eight assists in the season’s first five games. The line was broken up because of a knee injury that landed Kraemer on injured reserve, where he’s been ever since.
“I was playing well with Kraemer and Lewadniuk, we were part of the team’s top line at the time,” Kraus said. “Then when Kraemer went down with that injury I lost the chemistry with those guys. I couldn’t fit in with anybody. … He did a lot of line combinations and I wasn’t able to fit in.
“Off the ice, I was able to fit in great. The whole team’s pretty close.”
Kraus saw his ice time diminish even before he became a regular scratch, which he believes was another difference from years past.
“I don’t think I was given the opportunities as much as I was the last two years,” he said. “Once I got in a slump I was taken off the power play and my role on the team was pretty reduced. I wasn’t able to get my game.”
If he doesn’t get claimed by another ECHL team, Kraus said he would consider looking at the Central Hockey League, then possibly Europe.
“I’ve only been on this team for two years, but I grew with the community and the fans the past two years,” he said. “It’s tough to want to leave but I want what’s best for my hockey career.”
Chad Starling, David Walker, Dusty Collins, Kellen Briggs and Jon Francisco (who is on injured reserve) are the only remaining members of the inaugural team.
3 p.m. update: Kraemer and forward James McEwan were both activated off IR, and forward C.J. Stretch has been placed on IR. The Reign host the Utah Grizzlies at 7 p.m. tonight at The Bank.