Derek Couture, a gritty power forward who split last season between the AHL and the Victoria Salmon Kings, is the 10th player announced to have signed with the Reign.
The 6-foot-1 right wing turned pro in 2005-06, spending the majority of his time in the AHL. Couture, 27, has also played 10 games in the Austrian League and 50 games in the ECHL for Victoria, Charlotte and Elmira.
“He’s a big kid who is very aggressive in his style of play at our level,” said Karl Taylor, who signed Couture before resigning to take an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Wolves. “He’s been in the American League most of the time. He should be a top-3 forward, in my opinion, a real strong power forward. He’s not afraid to stick up for himself or his teammates. He’s a quiet guy but he plays a big game, a big signing who can really help the team out.”
Couture had 19 points (eight goals, 11 points) in 25 games for Victoria last season, along with 76 penalty minutes. In four ECHL playoff games, he had one goal and one assist. Playing for the Connecticut Whale, Couture had six goals and 10 points in 20 regular-season games along with one goal and one assist in six playoff games.
“He’s big, strong, skates well, likes to run people over. He’s going to be a fun player to watch. Someone Jason (Christie, the new head coach) can rely on for leadership. … Jason should be happy hopefully. Obviously Jason will have decisions on who he keeps.”
So far, the following players have been announced:
Forwards (4): Couture, Jordan Morrison, Kyle Kraemer, C.J. Stretch.
Defensemen (4): Chad Starling, Pat Bowen, Jason Fredricks, Adrian Van de Mosselaer.
Goalies (2): Jase Weslosky, Beau Erickson.
The Reign acquired the negotiating rights to forward Geoff Irwin from the Idaho Steelheads for forward Aaron Lewadniuk. A new contract for Irwin hasn’t been announced yet, but he’s expected to sign.