Weslosky released, Morrison suspended.

The Reign took one step toward the awaited resolution of their unusual four-goalie situation Wednesday, releasing Jase Weslosky from his contract. Weslosky started the Reign’s preseason opener and made 28 saves in a 4-2 loss to the Las Vegas Wranglers. He was the backup to J-F Berube for the first regular-season game, but never saw the ice again.

Weslosky, 22, came to the Reign last March in the trade that sent Dusty Collins to the Florida Everblades. He went 2-1-0 in four appearances with a 2.00 GAA and a .943 save percentage before being sidelined by a lower-body injury. Weslosky started last season in Idaho, played 20 games for the Steelheads, and finished with a combined 9-7-3 record, 2.79 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

Once healthy, Weslosky re-signed with the Reign in July, when Karl Taylor was still the coach. He was one of three goalies, along with J-F Berube and Dustin Carlson, who made the opening-day roster. Coach Jason Christie elected to keep all three on the roster after the Minnesota Wild assigned Darcy Kuemper to Ontario prior to the second game of the season. Carlson is still on the team but Christie stated his desire last week to find a new address for both Carlson and Weslosky; it seems as if Weslosky will get to find his next team on his own.

One other procedural move Wednesday: Jordan Morrison was suspended. The Reign will retain his ECHL rights while he heads off to Austria.

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Irate Erickson rails against Christie.

Beau Erickson thought his job was more safe than it actually was. That’s the ultimate reason for the candid war of words waged Wednesday by the former Reign goalie against coach Jason Christie.

From the coach’s standpoint, the story goes like this:

Christie plans on playing J-F Berube a lot. The Kings’ 2009 fourth-round draft pick is fully healthy after off-season hip surgery and is eager to begin his first pro season. When picking a backup goalie, a player who might not appear in half the games over the course of a season, saving money is a priority. This has become a universal truth in the NHL and in this regard the ECHL is sometimes no different.

Even by the standards of the ECHL, where no player earned more than $26,000 last season, Erickson didn’t make much during his 29-game stint with the Reign. But it’s safe to say he got a raise over the summer and was set to make more than either Jase Weslosky or Dustin Carlson, who have 29 games of pro experience between them. Erickson and Weslosky were both re-signed by Karl Taylor, while Carlson was brought in on a tryout by Christie.

So when I asked Christie what went into the decision to cut Erickson, here’s what he had to say:
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Beau Erickson is the lone cut as roster takes shape.

Wednesday was more a day of ecstasy than agony at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

When Reign coach Jason Christie submitted his first roster to the ECHL, Dustin Carlson, August Aiken and Jeff MacPhee were on it. All three were in training camp on tryout contracts, longshots to get an ECHL deal, but by virtue of some combination of luck and skill, they were among the chosen few. MacPhee called it “probably one of my proudest moments in hockey.”

The lone cut was Beau Erickson as head coach Jason Christie decided to keep three goalies for now — Kings prospect J-F Berube (who took part in his first practice), Jase Weslosky and Carlson.

Erickson, who appeared in 29 games for the Reign last season, didn’t have a bad camp. The 25-year-old allowed only one goal in 30 minutes in his only preseason action Sunday in Las Vegas. His glove was plenty sharp in practice, so what gave? More on that in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

A couple more notes:
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Another defenseman hurt; first roster submitted tomorrow.

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
league
wants the first rosters in tomorrow because that gives players who are
released a full two days to find
new homes.

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
never good.”

A few more notes:

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Injuries piling up, more cuts, Berube assigned.

Monday was a big day of news for the Reign, and most of it was bad.

First, the very bad: Winger Kyle Kraemer and defenseman Pat Bowen will both start the season on injured reserve with lower-body injuries they suffered in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Las Vegas Wranglers. Both are expected to miss 2-6 weeks.

The growing list of injured players now includes defenseman Jason Fredricks (knee), defenseman Adrian van de Mosselaer (mononucleosis), Kraemer and Bowen. In addition, there is still no resolution to Chad Starling’s immigration issue, leaving the Reign without four of the seven defensemen they signed over the summer — five, if you include Jordan Hill, who is starting the season with AHL affiliate Manchester.

Depending on your point of view, it’s either a bad omen for the rest of the season or good timing. Including Mike Montgomery, a rookie out of Minnesota-Duluth whom Christie signed Monday, the Reign will be able to start the season with six defenseman (Dylan Yeo, Jeff MacPhee, Iain McPhee, Travis Gawryletz and Philippe Seydoux are the others). Once the others get healthy, and Starling is allowed to cross the border, Christie will have plenty of blue-line options at his disposal.
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