Justin Williams’ misfortune is Chaz Johnson’s good fortune … and the Reign’s misfortune.
Johnson was loaned to the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs on Thursday, the first AHL call-up for Johnson this season. The Reign’s leading goal-scorer (22) scored twice in a 4-3 win over the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday to prolong the Reign’s chase for the final Western Conference playoff berth. Wednesday’s effort also continued a torrid stretch for Johnson — he’s scored 12 of his goals in his last 21 games after scoring only 11 in his first 39.
Now it looks like the Reign will have to take on the Steelheads on Friday without Johnson.
That’s because the Monarchs were down a right wing when the Kings recalled Oscar Moller on Wednesday. Moller, who ranked second on Manchester in goals and points at the time of his recall, was summoned to the NHL after Kings right wing Justin Williams suffered a shoulder injury Monday against Calgary. Williams isn’t expected to play for at least another four weeks — possibly not until next season — and the Kings will need someone to fill in at right wing in the meantime.
On the surface, that leaves Johnson’s immediate availability in doubt.
Johnson is second on the Reign in penalty minutes (127), tied for second in points (36) and leads the team in shots on goal (156). He’s played 72 AHL games in his career, recording three goals, five assists and 82 penalty minutes, but none since the 2008-09 season.