Iain McPhee left practice Tuesday with an upper-body injury, bringing the list of injured Reign defensemen to Way Too Many.
McPhee’s injury isn’t considered as serious as those to Jason Fredricks (knee) or Pat Bowen (lower-body), and Jason Christie didn’t let on a sense of urgency when he said he wanted to add another offensively skilled defenseman.
“(Dylan) Yeo and (Travis) Gawryletz, you can classify them right up there,” Christie said. “(Philippe) Seydoux came in and played well.”
New defenseman Mike Montgomery practiced but new goalie J-F Berube did not; the goalie was taking his physical today and should be on the ice tomorrow.
Tomorrow is important for another reason: Christie must submit his first roster to the ECHL by noon.
Coaches have to submit a roster daily once the season begins. The first
regular-season games aren’t until Friday, but Christie said the
wants the first rosters in tomorrow because that gives players who are
released a full two days to find
The roster is limited to 20 active players plus injured reserve, while
staying beneath the league-mandated salary cap and team’s internal
budget. Assuming Bowen, Fredricks and left wing Kyle Kraemer
(lower-body) begin the season on IR, the Reign have 20 active players in
camp right now. Christie won’t keep four goalies, but said he might
keep three from the group of Berube, Jase Weslosky, Beau Erickson and
Dustin Carlson, at least for now. Carlson is in camp on a tryout, Weslosky and
Erickson have ECHL contracts, and Berube is basically guaranteed a spot
since he was assigned to Ontario by the Kings.
That might be the
only cut he has to make between now and noon tomorrow. “It’s not easy,”
Christie said. “Whether it’s goalies or forwards or defensemen, it’s
A few more notes:
- At some point this week, Christie will give players a ballot to choose the team’s next captain. Chad Starling, an ECHL captain earlier in his career and the only returning player with experience playing for Christie, seemed to be a lock at one point. But it doesn’t seem likely that players would choose a teammate they’ve never met to wear the “C.” The captaincy figures to be a more interesting decision than in any of the three seasons under Karl Taylor.
- Montgomery began his college career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth as a forward and switched to defense as a sophomore. That’s why he was never paired with Gawryletz while the two played together in college. “I play a pretty balanced game,” Montgomery said. “I started out that way (as an offensive-minded defenseman) but it’s kind of a good mix now.” The 6-foot-3, 215-pound 25-year-old was cut by the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL last week.
- Bill Bagron wasn’t expected to be a prolific scorer when he signed with the Reign in the off-season, but he had a goal in both preseason games, matching C.J. Stretch for the team lead with two. “It feels pretty good,” he said. “It gets your confidence up to get that monkey off your back.”
- The line rushes in practice:
Geoff Irwin-Francois Brisebois-Derek Couture
J.D. Watt-C.J. Stretch-Shayne Neigum
Chris Cloud-Bill Bagron-Brady Calla
Jordan Morrison-August Aiken