The turnover on defense (pun intended).

Quick, how many Reign defensemen who played Wednesday were on the team to start the season?
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Traccitto, Popko cut as Reign make room.

Forward Luke Popko and defenseman Reggie Traccitto saw their respective tenures in Ontario end Friday.

Michael Pelech and Jordan Hill are expected to be added to the roster in time for tomorrow night’s game against the Alaska Aces, and Popko and Traccitto — both rookies — were determined the odd men out.

“They’re both very nice kids,” coach Karl Taylor said. “In my evaluations I had other people ahead of them. I was forced to make a decision.”

Traccitto had one assist and a team-low minus-5 rating this season, having appeared in all eight regular-season games. He had signed with the Reign in the summer following a strong 19-year-old season in the Ontario Hockey League.

“We’ve had some injury issues as well. If we were healthy, he probably wouldn’t have (played in every game),” Taylor said. ”We probably would have worked him out of the lineup. But with Eric’s injury, and with Pat Bowen’s passport issue and having to put him on 21-day (IR), we haven’t had the opportunity to get him into it. When Jordan (Hill) came, we had to make a move.”

The 22-year-old Popko was scoreless with a minus-2 rating in three regular-season games, after going scoreless with a minus-1 rating in two preseason games.

Taylor said that the former Boston University standout was a “class act, an unbelievable person. … We just felt that other guys have shown more than he has. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good player, it just didn’t work out here.

“We wish them both all the best, they’re good kids.”

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin, including reactions from Hill and Pelech.

Stockton 6, Reign 2.

The Reign fell in their preseason opener Friday, 6-2 to the Stockton Thunder at Stockton Arena.

Kyle Kraemer and Eric Doyle scored goals, and Martin Jones played all 60 minutes in net, stopping 24 of 30 shots.

Kraemer’s tally evened the game at 1 in the first period with the teams skating 4-on-4; defensemen Reggie Traccitto and Chad Starling notched the assists. Doyle brought the score to 5-2 with his power-pay goal at 11:27 of the third period; fellow rookie forward C.J. Stretch got the lone assist.

Jones, a Kings prospect, was in net for all six goals in his ECHL debut. Kellen Briggs served as the backup but did not make an appearance. Who Karl Taylor plays in goal tonight will be instrumental in determining who makes the opening-day roster along with Jones. Mike Zacharias and Garrett Zemlak are also vying with Briggs for one open spot.

The two teams play again at 6 p.m. tonight at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Five returning to Reign.

Forwards Pierre-Andre Bureau, C.J. Stretch and Kyle Kraemer, and defenseman Eric Doyle and Reggie Traccitto have been cut from the Manchester Monarchs’ training camp. All five signed with the Reign this summer and are presumably on their way (or already in) Ontario.

They will join the three goalies and 15 skaters already in the Reign’s camp to bring the total number of training campers to 23.

Taylor on Traccitto, CHL defections, Pearce.

Caught up with Karl Taylor on the Reign signing defenseman Reggie Traccitto. He was able to add some context to the 20-goal season Traccitto just had with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. Their home rink, Jate Gatecliff Arena, is rather small and certainly helped, but Taylor was sold on Traccitto’s skills.

“He’s a good offensive guy who took advantage of the arena,” Taylor said.

Taylor said that Traccitto has “grown a lot the last few years” since converting from winger to defense, and is looking at him only as a defenseman.
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Reign sign defenseman Reggie Traccitto.

Reggie Traccitto can score, fight, and skate at defenseman and forward. The 20-year-old rookie, coming off an overage junior season with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, is bringing his diverse skill set to the Reign next season.

Traccitto becomes the third defenseman confirmed be to joining the Reign, joining veteran Chad Starling and rookie Eric Doyle. A converted forward, Traccitto led all OHL defensemen with 20 goals last season for the IceDogs. He also contributed 18 assists in 65 games, after having never scored more than four goals or 15 assists in a single OHL season.

More details as we get ‘em…