Iain McPhee became the latest player to sign with the Reign this summer. The defenseman, who turns 26 Saturday, has split his two professional seasons between the Central Hockey League and the International Hockey League.
Despite his lack of ECHL experience, McPhee could get a long look. Defenseman Jordan Hill was included on the Manchester Monarchs’ camp roster, released Thursday, and Adrian van de Mosselaer was also excluded from the Reign’s camp roster and could be in the American Hockey League. (AHL camps are already open for business.) Only five defensemen, including McPhee, are expected to be on the ice tomorrow.
McPhee played four years in the Ontario Hockey League for the Windsor Spitfires, where he was teammates with future NHLers Bryan Bickell, Steve Downie, Cam Janssen, Cal O’Reilly and Kyle Wellwood. He moved on to the University of Prince Edward Island, posting five goals and 19 points in three years. In his first pro season, 2009-10, McPhee split his time between three IHL teams, notching a goal and four points in 45 games. Last season he had 12 points, all assists, and 79 penalty minutes in 48 games for the CHL’s Allen Americans.
One other name was listed on the Reign’s training camp roster, and it’s a familiar one. Mike Thomson of La Habra Heights earned a pro tryout contract — he didn’t have to try out in Riverside, like he did in 2008 and 2010 — and brings four games of ECHL experience this time around. The forward collected two assists and a plus-1 rating during his brief cameo with the Wheeling Nailers last season.
Making the opening-day roster is probably a more realistic goal now for Thomson and all the forwards who are here on tryout contracts — Kyle Reed, Dean Yakura, August Aiken and Andrew Monesi. A total of only seven forwards were signed in the off-season by Karl Taylor and Jason Christie, and that’s not enough to fill three lines.
Of course, the Kings are expected to kick down some help this season, and that could include a forward (or two). Odds are, that forward is going to be in Manchester’s camp until the Kings make their final training-camp cuts, which are expected to come in the next week. The same goes for any NHL-contracted defensemen and goalies who will find their way to Ontario this year.
That said, here are the 21 players expected to be on the ice tomorrow when camp opens at 10:30 a.m. sharp:
Forwards (12): Derek Couture, Jordan Morrison, Kyle Kraemer, C.J. Stretch, Geoff Irwin, Chris Cloud, Bill Bagron, Reed (pro tryout contract), Thomson (pro tryout), Yakura (pro tryout), Aiken (tryout), Monesi (tryout).
Defensemen (5): McPhee, Chad Starling, Pat Bowen, Jason Fredricks, Dylan Yeo.
Goalies (4): Jase Weslosky, Beau Erickson, Dustin Carlson (pro tryout), Darren Yount (tryout).