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.
No major developments emerged from today’s training camp session. J.D. Watt took part in his first practice with the team, but center Francois Brisebois and defensemen Travis Gawryletz (both awaiting physicals) did not.
The forward trios are actually skating consistently as trios now that Jason Christie is running lots of system-oriented drills. The line of Kyle Kraemer at left wing, Jordan Morrison at center and Derek Couture at right wing has had a few days of practice to get acclimated. Given their shared inclination for scoring, we’ll tab this group as the early frontrunner for a No. 1 line in Saturday’s preseason opener.
Geoff Irwin (LW), C.J. Stretch (center) and Brady Calla (RW) have stayed together for a couple days now, too. That group could be another potential keeper.
Wednesday’s other lines:
Chris Cloud-August Aiken-J.D. Watt
Shayne Neigum-Bill Bagron-Dean Yakura/Kyle Reed.
Some more notes:
Forwards Kyle Reed and Dean Yakura, and goalie Dustin Carlson, have been invited to participate in training camp with the Reign on pro tryout contracts.
All three had brief stints last season with the Idaho Steelheads.
Reed and Carlson both completed four-year careers at Ohio State last season, then made their pro debuts with the Steelheads at the end of the season. Reed, a left wing, had one assist and a minus-3 rating in four games. Carlson went 0-3-1 with a 3.25 goals-against average and an .872 save percentage in five games. Neither appeared in a playoff game for Idaho.
Yakura, 26, split last season between the Pensacola Ice Wings of the Southern Professional Hockey League (20 games, five goals, nine points) and the Steelheads (five games, one goal). Prior to turning pro, Yakura spent four years with the illustrious American International College program in Bridgeport, CT.
Three other players were invited from the team’s open free agent tryout last Friday and Saturday: forward Andrew Monesi of Simi Valley, forward August Aiken of Whittier and goalie Darren Yount of Alta Loma.