The Reign have already done something this summer that they could not do a year ago: Convince their leading scorer to come back.
Jordan Morrison, whose 35 assists and 55 points led the Reign last season, has re-signed, the team announced today. The 25-year-old was a point-per-game player after Jan. 1, when he moved to center from the wing and was paired with skilled winger Alex Bourret.
The challenge for Morrison will be to pick up where he left off and avoid another slow start. Through his first 28 games of last season, Morrison had five goals and 12 points.
Morrison did not sound as if he was leaning toward a return immediately after the season, when he said “I’ve been in this league a few years now. It might be time for a change.”
Greg Hogeboom signed in the Central Hockey League a year ago after leading the Reign in goals and points in 2009-10. In fat, of the Reign’s top seven scorers that season, only six returned.
In Morrison and Kyle Kraemer, Karl Taylor has already re-signed two of his top three players in points-per-game from a year ago. Bourret is the other. (There’s been no announcement yet on where Bourret, who has been playing summer hockey in Quebec, will play next season.)
Morrison, Kraemer, goalies Beau Erickson and Jase Weslosky, and defensemen Jason Fredricks and Chad Starling, give the Reign six returning players under contract for next season. Of these players, only Starling counts toward the four-veteran limit.
We’ll try to catch up with Morrison tomorrow (presuming the antibiotics are working in the sick ward of Chez Hoornstra.)