J.D. Watt became the first Reign forward recalled to the American Hockey League on Monday, when the 24-year-old right wing found out mid-practice that he was headed to the Manchester Monarchs. Watt was scheduled to catch his flight east this afternoon.
Watt, who came to Ontario on an AHL contract, has seven points (one goal, six assists) and 66 penalty minutes in 22 games this season. What he lacks in skill — his 1.7% shooting accuracy is the lowest among all Reign players with at least 20 shots on goal — he makes up for in controlled aggression. A familiar presence in the opponent’s crease, Watt mostly racked up penalty minutes with his fists, drawing nearly as many minors as he committed.
He’s the first Reign forward to be promoted this season. Defensemen JP Cote, Mike Montgomery, Dylan Yeo and goaltender Darcy Kuemper are all currently playing in the AHL. The Reign’s forward core has been remarkably consistent this season. Without Watt, here’s how they are expected to skate Friday in Alaska:
Geoff Irwin-CJ Stretch-Derek Couture
Kevin Estrada-Francois Brisebois-Kyle Kraemer
Chris Cloud-Bill Bagron-Matt Tassone
Shayne Neigum (forward or defense)
More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.