The Reign make a trade, and who’s in the lineup tomorrow?

The Reign traded the rights to defenseman Mike Montgomery to the Reading Royals for left wing Everett Sheen on Tuesday. While coach Jason Christie hasn’t done too much wheeling and dealing the past couple months, perhaps the only question is why this move (or something similar) didn’t happen sooner.

Montgomery, who has been on loan to the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros all month, had one goal and one assist in 27 games with the Reign. The 25-year-old rookie has played 10 games in the AHL during three separate stints (two with Houston, one with St. John’s). Six of those games have come during the last two weeks, and it could be that Montgomery is becoming an established piece of the Aeros’ blue-line corps.

That’s a little ironic, since Montgomery was skating at forward for the Reign just prior to his February promotion.

Ever since Christie lured defensemen Alan Mazur from England, and Mike Gabinet from temporary retirement, both players have been productive. That’s left little room for Montgomery, Jason Fredricks and lately Pat Bowen to play their natural position. Mazur and Gabinet also have more experience than Montgomery, a quality Christie was looking to add to a young roster. As responsible as Montgomery is — both with and without the puck — he simply wasn’t needed anymore. The Royals can deal with the question of if and when Montgomery will come back from Houston.

What do we know about Sheen?

He’s a 25-year-old rookie out of Holy Cross College in Boston, Mass. Last year he was the Crusaders’ captain, leading goal-scorer (17-18-35 in 38 games) and team MVP. The year before he was a co-captain, and his 149 games are a school record. As a freshman, he skated alongside former Reign forward Dale Reinhardt.

Sheen had a brief AHL stint with the Syracuse Crunch at the end of last season, but did not appear in a game. This season he got into four games with the Providence Bruins and did not register a point.

In 33 games with the Royals, Sheen scored five goals and dished out four assists. He also has 15 penalty minutes, one-third of which came in this fight:

A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Sheen began his hockey journey in the second-tier Alberta Junior Hockey League, playing for the Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves, Canmore Eagles, Drumheller Dragons and Okotoks Oilers.

Word is that Sheen wasn’t getting much playing time in Reading. That shouldn’t be a problem in Ontario.

J.D. Watt is on injured reserve with a hairline fracture in his foot and is not expected to return for at least another two weeks. Brady Calla has a hand injury that will keep him out of tomorrow night’s game in Stockton, though he isn’t expected to be out long-term.

Although Sheen won’t be in uniform tomorrow night either, Derek Couture and Chris Cloud will, having served their five-game ECHL suspensions. That should allow the Reign to go back to a more familiar lineup (the defense pairings and forward combos are pure guesses on my part):

Estrada-Stretch-Couture
Irwin-King-Kraemer
Cloud-Bagron-Fredricks

Huxley-LoVerde
Tarasuk-Gabinet
Van de Mosselaer-Mazur/Bowen

Calla and Sheen will give the Reign more flexibility at forward once they’re ready to suit up. It’s a luxury they could have used last week once the suspensions were levied but, with the team riding an 8-1-1 streak, there’s been little reason to tinker with the roster.

This entry was posted in Ontario Reign/ECHL and tagged , , by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.