New defenseman (#16) and other notes.

Chris Huxley was the co-captain at Harvard University last year. He played on the Crimson’s top defensive pair with a recent NHL draft pick, Danny Biega. He once was presented an academic/athletic excellence award (the John Carlton Memorial Award) by former Boston Bruin Johnny Bucyk.

Now, he’s just a number. Number 16 in the line of defensemen who have been under contract to the Reign since July 1, and number (TBA) in your program tomorrow night against the Stockton Thunder.

“He’s one of those durable guys that can come in and have a little offensive side to him,” coach Jason Christie said. “He’s a competitor.”

Huxley will give the Reign six defensemen — three full pairs — for the first (and only) time since the opening weekend of the regular season. Pat Bowen isn’t ready to be rushed into game action and Philippe Seydoux still doesn’t have his P-1 (work) visa. Christie hopes both players will be ready to go by next week.

A few more notes:
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Morrison to Europe; defenseman/goalie updates.

There were no new defensemen in practice, so the Reign roster had find another way to fluctuate Tuesday.

Jordan Morrison, who led the Reign in scoring last season, informed coach Jason Christie yesterday that he was leaving for the Erste Bank Eishockeyliga (First Bank Ice Hockey League), the top league in Austria. That’s about all we know right now; I spoke to Morrison briefly and he’s still got a few loose ends to tie up here. Check out tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin for more.

Morrison had no points and a minus-3 rating in three games this season.
He never seemed totally comfortable in Christie’s system and was squeezed out of
the center rotation (his natural position) by C.J. Stretch, Francois
Brisebois, Bill Bagron and newcomer Matt Tassone. Last season, Morrison rode a strong second half to finish with 20 goals and 55 points in 71 games.

The 25-year-old becomes the second player to head overseas since the season began. Defenseman Travis Gawryletz was the first.

Justin Taylor, who played 41 games for the Reign last season, also plays in the Austrian league for Ljubljana Olimpija HK.

A few more notes from practice:
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New defenseman, plus a Chad Starling update.

Vincent LoVerde is the Reign’s newest defenseman. The rookie out of Miami (Ohio) University averaged 1.5 goals and 7.5 assists in his four-year college career, which ended when the top-seeded RedHawks were upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament in March.

LoVerde wasn’t at practice Thursday but Jason Christie said he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night in Las Vegas. Eddie DelGrosso, who was claimed off waivers Wednesday, wasn’t at practice either and was still awaiting a physical. Christie is hopeful that DelGrosso can play, too.

Just to recap, then:

Jason Fredricks, Pat Bowen, Dylan Yeo, Chad Starling, Jordan Hill and Adrian van de Mosselaer signed over the summer. Jeff MacPhee, Iain McPhee and Travis Gawryletz signed during training camp. Steven Tarasuk, Mike Montgomery, Philippe Seydoux, JP Cote, Eddie DelGrosso and Vincent LoVerde either signed or were acquired through trade since the regular season began.

So even though the Reign have skated the same six defensemen in their first two regular-season games, 15 different blueliners have been under contract to the team since July 1.

Fifteen. Through two games. Let that sink in.
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Changes coming, notes from practice. Update.

There were no changes on the ice at practice today, but that should change soon. Jason Christie is hoping to add another defenseman and said that the goalie situation — the Reign have four, two more than logic dictates they should have — could be resolved later today. I’ll pass along updates as I get them.

One thing that probably won’t change: Bill Bagron will center Brady Calla and Chris Cloud. The 29-year-old pivot has scored one goal in every game so far this season, including the preseason. Not bad for a guy who scored 13 goals in four college seasons, and has played all but seven of his 214 career games below the ECHL level. More from him in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Here were the forward lines and defense pairings (same as yesterday):
    
     Jordan Morrison-C.J. Stretch-Derek Couture
     J.D. Watt-Francois Brisebois-Geoff Irwin
     Chris Cloud-Bill Bagron-Brady Calla
     Shayne Neigum-Matt Tassone-Jeff MacPhee

     Dylan Yeo-Mike Montgomery
     JP Cote-Steve Tarasuk
     Iain McPhee-Philippe Seydoux

Update (2:55 p.m.): MacPhee and McPhee were both placed on waivers today, ending the MacPhee-McPhee D-pair experiment after only one game, and halting the ECHL careers of both players after two games (for now).

Defenseman Eddie DelGrosso was claimed off waivers from the Las Vegas Wranglers. DelGrosso played against the Reign in the preseason and had no points, and two penalty minutes, in two regular-season games. The Las Vegas native had three goals and 11 points in 29 games for the Wranglers at the end of last season, his first in the ECHL.

The 26-year-old also played eight games in Europe last season. In 2009-10, after his final season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, DelGrosso played eight games with the Springfield Falcons. His numbers in college indicate that DelGrosso can add some offense, if not size (listed at 5-10, 198 pounds)  to the Reign blue line.

Incidentally, the Reign are third in the ECHL waiver priority order until the end of the month, whereupon priority will be given in reverse order of winning percentage. Chicago and Colorado, the two first-year ECHL franchises, are currently first and second in the waiver priority order.