The Reign make a trade, and who’s in the lineup tomorrow?

The Reign traded the rights to defenseman Mike Montgomery to the Reading Royals for left wing Everett Sheen on Tuesday. While coach Jason Christie hasn’t done too much wheeling and dealing the past couple months, perhaps the only question is why this move (or something similar) didn’t happen sooner.

Montgomery, who has been on loan to the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros all month, had one goal and one assist in 27 games with the Reign. The 25-year-old rookie has played 10 games in the AHL during three separate stints (two with Houston, one with St. John’s). Six of those games have come during the last two weeks, and it could be that Montgomery is becoming an established piece of the Aeros’ blue-line corps.

That’s a little ironic, since Montgomery was skating at forward for the Reign just prior to his February promotion.

Ever since Christie lured defensemen Alan Mazur from England, and Mike Gabinet from temporary retirement, both players have been productive. That’s left little room for Montgomery, Jason Fredricks and lately Pat Bowen to play their natural position. Mazur and Gabinet also have more experience than Montgomery, a quality Christie was looking to add to a young roster. As responsible as Montgomery is — both with and without the puck — he simply wasn’t needed anymore. The Royals can deal with the question of if and when Montgomery will come back from Houston.

What do we know about Sheen?

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Change on D, other notes from practice.

Monday’s practice at Citizens Business Bank Arena was the last for Sean Murray in a Reign uniform, at least for now.

Murray was released Monday afternoon, probably not coincidentally the same day Mike Montgomery was released from his tryout contract with the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros. The timing of the move suggests that Montgomery could well be in the lineup Wednesday, when the Reign host the Las Vegas Wranglers.

In five games with the Reign, playing exclusively as a third-pair defenseman, Murray was scoreless with a minus-1 rating. Montgomery was a minus-5 with no points in 18 games for the Reign during two separate stints.

A couple more notes from practice:
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Emptying out the notebook.

It’s been an unusually busy week in hockey, both locally and nationally, keeping this reporter on his toes a tad more.

Then Jason Christie grabbed a linesman’s shirt Sunday night.

There was no word out of the ECHL offices Monday whether or not Christie will face supplementary discipline. Expect that decision to be handed down tomorrow or Wednesday. The Reign visit the Las Vegas Wranglers on Thursday.

One bright spot in the Reign’s 2-0 loss Sunday was the continued progression of goalie Chris Carrozzi, who will be the focus of tomorrow’s notebook on Page 2 of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. In short, dude’s had a rough start to the season. Somewhat reminiscent of Beau Erickson last year.

Here are a few things that won’t make the notebook (but are still newsworthy):
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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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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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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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