Reign sign McPhee, announce camp roster.

Iain McPhee became the latest player to sign with the Reign this summer. The defenseman, who turns 26 Saturday, has split his two professional seasons between the Central Hockey League and the International Hockey League.

Despite his lack of ECHL experience, McPhee could get a long look. Defenseman Jordan Hill was included on the Manchester Monarchs’ camp roster, released Thursday, and Adrian van de Mosselaer was also excluded from the Reign’s camp roster and could be in the American Hockey League. (AHL camps are already open for business.) Only five defensemen, including McPhee, are expected to be on the ice tomorrow.

McPhee played four years in the Ontario Hockey League for the Windsor Spitfires, where he was teammates with future NHLers Bryan Bickell, Steve Downie, Cam Janssen, Cal O’Reilly and Kyle Wellwood. He moved on to the University of Prince Edward Island, posting five goals and 19 points in three years. In his first pro season, 2009-10, McPhee split his time between three IHL teams, notching a goal and four points in 45 games. Last season he had 12 points, all assists, and 79 penalty minutes in 48 games for the CHL’s Allen Americans.

One other name was listed on the Reign’s training camp roster, and it’s a familiar one. Mike Thomson of La Habra Heights earned a pro tryout contract — he didn’t have to try out in Riverside, like he did in 2008 and 2010 — and brings four games of ECHL experience this time around. The forward collected two assists and a plus-1 rating during his brief cameo with the Wheeling Nailers last season.

Making the opening-day roster is probably a more realistic goal now for Thomson and all the forwards who are here on tryout contracts — Kyle Reed, Dean Yakura, August Aiken and Andrew Monesi. A total of only seven forwards were signed in the off-season by Karl Taylor and Jason Christie, and that’s not enough to fill three lines.

Of course, the Kings are expected to kick down some help this season, and that could include a forward (or two). Odds are, that forward is going to be in Manchester’s camp until the Kings make their final training-camp cuts, which are expected to come in the next week. The same goes for any NHL-contracted defensemen and goalies who will find their way to Ontario this year.

That said, here are the 21 players expected to be on the ice tomorrow when camp opens at 10:30 a.m. sharp:
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Cut day for open-tryout invitees.

Four days into training camp, Josh Newton, Gabriel Andre and Mike Thomson have been released from their open-tryout invitations, and Aaron Lewadniuk has been added to the roster.

The three open-tryout invitees had their moment in the sun. Thomson will probably try to continue his; the forward from La Habra said he had spoken with coaches in the Central Hockey League and the Southern Professional Hockey League in case the Reign tryout didn’t work out.

Five more players are expected to return to Ontario from AHL camps this week, which pushed the tryout players out of a spot as anticipated.

Notes on practice, tryout players, Rheault.

Back from the Reign’s afternoon practice at Center Ice Arena, where there were some fairly tired hockey players.

Taylor said the players were on exercise bikes for an hour prior to the practice. “The guys were tired when we got here. We went really hard.” In spite of that, Taylor said, ”the guys had lots of pace, lots of energy. I really like what we did. We got our systems started. Lots of work to do, then just decided we needed to shut it down.”

The goalies got more work today than on Friday, as Garrett Zemlak, Mike Zacharias and Kellen Briggs faced plenty of point-blank, one-on-one chances toward the end of practice. “It shows them that we care,” coach Karl Taylor said, ”and it’s also to help them.”

I caught up with the three open-tryout invitees — Josh Newton, Gabriel Andre and Mike Thomson — and will have a story about them in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

There were no new players in practice today — just the same 15 skaters and three goalies as yesterday – as all the absent signed players lived to see another day in American Hockey League camps.

Meanwhile up in Edmonton, Jon Rheault scored for the Calgary Flames in a 5-1 win over the Oilers. Rheault started the game on a line with former Kings enforcer Raitis Ivanans, which if anything means the Calgary staff is serious about possibly keeping him on as a fourth-line winger.

Hold on to those Jon Rheault memories. He won’t be making any new ones here this season.

Open tryout invitees announced.

Three lucky open-tryout campers have been invited to take part in the Reign’s main camp beginning Friday:

Mike Thomson of La Habra Heights, Josh Newton of Riverside, and Gabriel Andre of Edmonton.

Thomson, you might recall, was among six open tryout players invited to take part in the Reign’s inaugural training camp. He was also among the final players cut (check out the story I wrote about Thomson at the time, after the jump).

Newton is an experienced player from a large hockey-playing family that includes younger brother and Ducks prospect Jake Newton.

Andre was also an invitee to the Las Vegas Wranglers’ camp a year ago after passing the Wranglers’ open tryout. He has quite a story, and a collection of gnarly videos, from something known as Red Bull Crashed Ice.

Thomson, Newton and Andre will be needed with a total of 10 off-season signees currently in American Hockey League camps: Pierre-Andre Bureau (Manchester), Eric Doyle (Manchester), Jordan Hill (Manchester), Kyle Kraemer (Manchester), Jordan Morrison (Manchester), C.J. Stretch (Manchester), Reggie Traccitto (Manchester), Aaron Lewadniuk (Manitoba), Matt Delahey (Providence) and Dusty Collins (San Antonio).

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