Jason Fredricks found out Saturday he was being traded from the Utah Grizzlies, the top team in the ECHL’s Western Conference, to the Reign, who had just been swept by the Grizzlies and owned the league’s worst record.
His reaction? “Happy.”
“Southern California, hopefully part of a team turning a corner here, and I’m looking forward to just get playing and being part of a new team,” Fredricks said.
The Eagle River, Wisconsin native is a second-year pro who spent last season with the South Carolina Stingrays. In 23 games there, he flashed some offense, recording a goal and 10 points in 23 games.
This season Fredricks’ playing time was fluctuating (as was the Utah blue line). He had two goals and one assist, along with four penalty minutes, in 21 games. One of those goals came in Ontario on Nov. 28, a 7-3 Grizzlies win in which Utah scored on five of its seven power plays. Fredericks’ goal came at even strength, a third-period wrist shot that sailed high over the shoulder of Beau Erickson.
Not surprisingly, the 23-year-old described himself as a player who likes to join the rush.
“I’m a good skating, good puck-moving defenseman who likes to join the
rush as much as I can,” he said, “but without sacrificing the game in the defensive
Reign coach Karl Taylor praised Fredricks’ two-way ability. If this week’s practices have been any indication, Fredricks could see time on the power play, and will wear number 12, on Wednesday night against the Alaska Aces. If he plays, he will become the 13th defenseman to appear in a game this season.
While he tries to become familiar with Taylor’s system, Fredricks is already familiar with three of his new teammates. He was roommates with Erickson last season for a month in South Carolina, and he spent time in training camp this season with Lane Caffaro and Justin Taylor in Idaho.
“Talking to them,” he said, “they were pretty confident the team is turning the page here. There’s half a season left. That’s a lot of games. With a (ten)-point separation, there’s no reason in that time we can’t be in the middle of the pack or better by the end of the season.”