Jason Christie’s first two player signings as head coach of the Reign were announced Monday, and he didn’t have to reach too far into his past to find them.
Forwards Chris Cloud and Bill Bagron both played for Christie last season with the Bloomington PrairieThunder. Neither brings a wealth of experience in the ECHL to Ontario, though Cloud did appear for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ American Hockey League affiliate in 2009. Judging by their stats, Cloud and Bagron might not be slated for scoring-line roles, but that’s no surprise. Christie said he like the team’s skill up front between Jordan Morrison, Kyle Kraemer, C.J. Stretch, Derek Couture and Geoff Irwin.
Cloud is a grappler. Here’s a clip of him fighting (and winning) during his brief time in the AHL: http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/86289. The 22-year-old racked up 103 penalty minutes in 53 games after arriving in Bloomington last season via a midseason trade with the Tulsa Oilers. Cloud has some scoring potential; he once potted 15 goals during his overage season in the WHL, with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2008-09.
One more factoid on Cloud: He is from the alliteratively named Waywayseecappo, Manitoba and his Facebook fan club page lists him as a member of the Waywayseecappo First Naton, Manitoba.
Bagron, 29, tallied 53 goals and 134 points in 212 games over the last three seasons. He followed the PrairieThunder from the IHL to the CHL in 2010, scoring 16 goals and 48 points in 66 games last season. The Alaska native was a college teammate of former Reign defenseman Dan Knapp and Kings forward Scott Parse at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.
Fifteen players are known to be under contract:
Forwards (7): Derek Couture, Jordan Morrison, Kyle Kraemer, C.J. Stretch, Geoff Irwin, Cloud, Bagron.
Defensemen (6): Chad Starling, Pat Bowen, Jason Fredricks, Adrian Van de Mosselaer, Dylan Yeo, Jordan Hill.
Goalies (2): Jase Weslosky, Beau Erickson.