Berube in goal, plus more notes.

J-F Berube will get his first start since Dec. 26 tomorrow when the Reign host the Bakersfield Condors.

Berube’s last outing was a forgettable one – down to 13 skaters, he was the unlucky goalie as the Reign lost 5-0 to the Las Vegas Wranglers. Still short-handed, the Reign reached back the next four games and went 2-0-1, averaging 36 shots a game with goalie Chris Carrozzi in net.

That impressive feat will be the focus of tomorrow’s notebook in the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Berube has not faced the Condors since opening night, a 5-4 Reign loss.

A few more notes from practice:
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Yeo, Montgomery get AHL call-ups.

Four days after JP Cote became the first Reign player recalled to the American Hockey League, defensemen Dylan Yeo and Mike Montgomery found out they will be joining him soon. On Tuesday, Yeo was loaned to the Oklahoma City Barons and Montgomery to the St. John’s IceCaps.

When healthy, Yeo and Montgomery skated on the same pair and played significant minutes for the Reign. Yeo, the team captain, provided the speed and the offense (one goal and eight assists in eight games). Montgomery added size and the physical presence around the net. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound rookie was scoreless with a minus-4 rating through 14 games.
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Carlson is released, injury updates.

Four folding chairs sat in a row leading into the Reign locker room Tuesday, the makeshift “lockers” painting a plain picture that space was suddenly at a premium.

Locker-room space, of course, relates directly to salary-cap space and roster space, and that meant Dustin Carlson’s stay as the Reign’s third goalie ended Tuesday. Carlson was released in advance of tonight’s game against the Stockton Thunder, in which Darcy Kuemper is expected to start and J-F Berube to back up.

“Practice time is huge, and it’s tough having three goaltenders,” Reign coach Jason Christie said. “Sometimes you have to adjust. We’re getting players healthy here, so it comes down to cap space and having guys active. That’s the reality we’re looking at.”

Carlson went 0-1 with a 4.16 goals-against average and a .857 save percentage in two appearances this season. Both appearances came last weekend in Alaska, coming off the bench after the Aces had a big first period against Berube and the Reign.

A longshot to make the team after joining camp on a tryout, Carlson was retained as an unofficial emergency backup in case of injury or promotion to Berube or Darcy Kuemper. The Wild recalled Kuemper to the NHL last weekend, giving Carlson his lone, brief opportunity in the crease before Kuemper returned to Ontario (more on that in a future blog).

So who are the injured players and when will they come back? The latest updates, ranked by this beat writer’s predicted order of return (soonest to farthest away):
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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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Fredricks out 4-6 weeks, reinforcements on the way, camp cuts. Update.

Bad news for defenseman Jason Fredricks, who will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a knee injury sustained in practice Sunday. Fredricks was one of only four defensemen on the ice to begin camp; Chad Starling is dealing with an immigration issue, Adrian van de Mosselaer is recovering from mononucleosis, and two other signed defensemen are still in the Manchester Monarchs’ training camp.

Fredricks’ injury briefly left the Reign with three defensemen. With the first exhibition game looming Saturday, head coach Jason Christie signed defenseman Jeff MacPhee (no relation to defenseman Iain McPhee) to a pro tryout contract. MacPhee, 26, appeared in four games with the Bloomington PrairieThunder last season after spending most of the year in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Christie said he’s also signed Travis Gawryletz, a fourth-year pro who is still in camp with the Monarchs. That makes two defensemen hung up in Manchester, along with Jordan Hill.

Update: The Monarchs announced that they’ve cut Gawryletz, so he should be en route to Ontario soon. The 25-year-old spent the majority of the last two seasons in the AHL with Lake Erie; last season he put up four goals, 18 points and 46 penalty minutes in 69 games. He has size (6-2, 200) and the distinction of being drafted in the now-nonexistent eighth round (253rd overall) of the NHL Entry Draft in 2004 by Philadelphia — ahead of Pekka Rinne (258), Mark Streit (262) and Luke Beaverson (283), but behind Alex Ovechkin (1), Yutaka Fukufuji (238) and Dusty Collins (163).

There were two new arrivals at camp Tuesday.

Right wing J.D. Watt amassed an impressive 86 penalty minutes in only 37 games last season between the Abbotsford Heat and San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. Watt was in Manchester on a tryout. In his last full AHL season, 2009-10, the 24-year-old had 267 penalty minutes in 70 games, along with eight goals and 13 points.

Watt played 18 games for the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2008-09 and one game for the Utah Grizzlies in 2009-10, but has otherwise spent his entire three-year professional career in the AHL. Listed at 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, Watt was a fourth-round draft pick (111th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 2005.

Forward Francois Brisebois also joined the Reign after being released from his AHL tryout with the Chicago Wolves. The 23-year-old Montreal native finished a four-year career with Colgate University last season with a 17-goal, 17-assist campaign in 42 games. He also appeared in three regular-season games with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.

To make room for the new arrivals, three players were cut. Forward Andrew Monesi of Simi Valley and goalie Darren Yount of Alta Loma earned their spots out of the team’s open free agent tryout. Forward Mike Thomson of La Habra Heights was in camp on a pro tryout contract.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Karl Taylor on Weslosky, Fredricks.

Here are the links to yesterday’s story about the signing of Jase Weslosky and Jason Fredricks: in the Daily Bulletin and San Bernardino Sun. I had the chance to speak to Karl Taylor about both players this morning.

(Before getting into his quotes, however, a disclaimer: Taylor said not to read into the fact that Weslosky and Fredricks were the first signings announced. David Walker was the first signing announced prior to Year 1, Jon Francisco the following year, and Tim Kraus and Francisco the next. Still, yesterday’s announcement doesn’t mean that Fredricks is going to be named captain, that Weslosky is going to be the number-one goalie all season, or that better players aren’t still coming down the pipe.)

Upward and onward …
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Reign announce season-ending roster.

The Reign have announced their season-ending roster, a list of 20 players of whom eight can be tendered qualifying offers no later than July 1:

Jordan Hill, Jase Weslosky, Jordan Morrison, Kyle Kraemer, Jason Fredricks, C.J. Stretch, Aaron Lewadniuk, Beau Erickson, Pat Bowen, Luke Beaverson, James McEwan, Brett O’Malley, Lane Caffaro, Craig Gaudet, Alex Bourret, Doug Krantz, Kellen Briggs, Chaz Johnson, David Walker and Matt Delahey.

Of the players who finished 2010-11 with the Reign, six are missing from the list:

• Forward Michael Pelech, who was assigned to the Reign by the Manchester Monarchs.

• Five veterans (as defined by the ECHL): Shawn Collymore, Shawn Germain, Jon Francisco, Chad Starling and Justin Taylor. Reign coach Karl Taylor has stated that he doesn’t send qualifying offers to veterans out of principle, since they can decline the offer and become a free agent without any possible compensation to the Reign.

Walker is a veteran. But the captain said that he expects to play in Europe next season [more on this in a future blog], so a qualifying offer sent to him would probably come with little consequence.

Also, note that teams are not required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract prior to July 1.

All the ECHL season-ending rosters can be found here.

Poll: Should the Reign bring back Jason Fredricks?

The rundown on defenseman Jason Fredricks:

2010-11 stats [career]: 1 goal, 5 points, minus-6 rating, 28 penalty minutes in 39 games.

Quote: “Who knows what will happen on the Ontario Reign end, or on my end, but the way I see it right now I’d like to be back here.”

Pros: Fredricks is young (24), big (listed at 6- 2, 200 pounds) and fast. He was defensively responsible enough to play a on a shutdown pair with Shawn Germain at the end of the season, and probably has some untapped offensive potential if he can gain more confidence handling the puck.

Cons: Fredricks still wasn’t racking up the points (no goals, 2 assists in his final 22 games) despite increased ice time late in the season, and the Reign might need to look for a more proven offensive-minded defenseman, especially if David Walker retires.

Jason Fredricks post-season quotes.

Jason Fredricks is technically not a rookie, but the defenseman didn’t look like he was completely adjusted to ECHL play when he arrived in a January 11 trade with the Utah Grizzlies.

The 23-year-old from Eagle River, Wisconsin started out as a third-pair defenseman and by the end of the season had worked his way up to a shutdown-pair role with Shawn Germain. He started to gain confidence in his skating ability, drew the attention of opposing defenses, and was responsible enough in his own end to be a plus-3 over his final 15 games.

If you’re looking for bright spots on the player-development side of things, you can start with Fredricks. Here’s what he said this morning:
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Reign 3, Alaska 2.

Print out the scoresheet and frame it: The Reign won at home.

Dusty Collins’ short-handed goal at 5:46 of the third period served as the game-winner, new defenseman Jason Fredricks got the game-tying goal on a lucky bounce off the boards, and C.J. Stretch scored on the Reign’s first shot of the game.

That allowed a strong 34-save effort by Beau Erickson to hold up before an announced crowd of 6,433.

Alaska saw its streak of 11 games with a point, including 10 wins in those 11 games, come to an end.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin, including Karl Taylor’s thoughts on the rare illegal-hit-to-the-head penalty that got Chaz Johnson ejected from the game in the first period.