Stretch, Bowen accept qualifying offers.

The Reign brought their number of returning players to eight Tuesday, announcing that defenseman Pat Bowen and C.J. Stretch had accepted qualifying offers. Both were complimentary players who finished the season stronger than they began as rookies in 2010-11.

Bowen had three goals, 13 points, 32 penalty minutes, and a minus-10 rating in 52 games. The former Merrimack College standout might not have been
outstanding at any one thing, but was playing reliable minutes in
power-play, penalty kill, and even-strength situations by the end of the season.

At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Bowen adds a decent dose of size to a blue line that already includes 6-foot-6 veteran Chad Starling and 6-foot-2 Jason Fredricks. If there’s one thing missing from that trio, it’s scoring touch – the three combined for four goals between them last season. While those stats were limited by a lack of opportunity (Starling only appeared in 14 games, Fredricks 39) expect head coach Karl Taylor to target a potential power-play quarterback with his remaining blue line additions.

Stretch, a native of nearby Irvine, finished his first full pro season with nine goals and 21 points in 46 games. Always among the team’s most creative offensive players, he was
finally playing regular minutes, scoring consistently, and defending
reasonably well by the end of the season.  He also
single-handedly brought at least a dozen patrons to the stands at every
home game.

The 22-year-old joins a forward corps that includes center Jordan Morrison and winger Kyle Kraemer. That’s a group with plenty of offensive potential, but not much of a physical presence. As the forwards are concerned, it appears Taylor is addressing the need for power play candidates before the need for penalty killers.

Goalies Jase Weslosky and Beau Erickson also re-signed for 2011-12.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.