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.
Continue reading

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.

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:
Continue reading

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.