Reign: Martens on season, defense.

Andrew Martens is somewhat of a focal point for the Reign defense — as long as he’s here, at least. Martens and P.J. Atherton were the team’s top two offensive defensemen last season, so much so that each spent significant time in the American Hockey League but still ranked first and third, respectively, in scoring among Reign blueliners.

Atherton is now playing in Europe. There was no guarantee that Martens would be here either, after he began training camp in Manitoba with the Moose of the American Hockey League.

His thoughts on the group he found when he arrived in Ontario…
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Reign: Training camp, Day 3.

The Reign, back on the ice Monday at Center Ice Arena for Day 3 of training camp, are starting to look ready for an actual game. In fact, two of them came to camp ready, Karl Taylor said.

“Dwight King and Mike Pelech have been in camp for several weeks now, so they’re way ahead of everybody based on their skating, their energy and the fact they’ve been in training camp for so long,” Taylor said. “A lot of our guys, this is their first camp and they’re just trying to catch up.”

Both forwards began the preseason with the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, and came to Ontario when they failed to make the Manchester Monarchs’ opening-day roster.

King, 20, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Kings in 2007 and signed his entry-level deal in May. Pelech, who turns 20 on Tuesday, was a sixth-round choice in 2009.

As for the rest of the group, Taylor said he might not have the luxury of letting all the players “on the bubble” play at least one preseason game before he begins making roster cuts. There are 27 in camp, and the active roster has to be down to 20 on opening day.

“I haven’t really given it much thought,” Taylor said. “We’re waiting for people to fall out. You’re starting to see a little bit of separation by day three or four. The old guys get their legs under them and start to catch up.”

Frechette is first to leave camp.

Maxime Frechette voluntarily became the first cut from the Reign’s training camp over the weekend.

The 21-year-old defenseman from Sorel, Quebec came with some promise — he was a fifth-round draft pick by Columbus in 2006 — but also with a shoulder injury that caused him to miss significant parts of three of his last four seasons in the QMJHL. It only took three days to realize the shoulder wasn’t up to the ECHL rigors, and Reign coach Karl Taylor said that Frechette was returning to Canada to enroll in college.

“He was nervous about getting hurt again; he didn’t feel comfortable,” Taylor said. “It’s good that he came here, because it helped him make a good decision in the process and hopefully he has a great career in whatever he ventures into.”

Twenty-six players remain in camp: two goaltenders, eight defensemen and 16 forwards. Injured forwards Robert Pearce and Joel Irving are still awaiting medical clearance to participate.

Reign camp notes, Day 1.

Here are some quick hits from this morning’s practice at Center Ice Arena. Look for more in tomorrow’s editions …

– The returning players we spotted on the ice: Jon Francisco, Jon Rheault, Todd Jackson, Mike Howe, Tim Kraus, Doug Spooner, Chris Curran, Shawn Germain, Chad Starling, Andrew Martens and David Walker.

– Twenty-three players were on the ice in total, including Curran, who doesn’t look like he’s been cleared for contact. Tony Voce, who spent the past two seasons in Europe following a promising start in the AHL, is also under contract but in an AHL camp. Geoff Walker is still in Manchester. Another three players were held out due to various injuries.

– Generally speaking, the team is bigger and in better shape than it was a year ago. All the returning players seem physically trim; combine that with a few haircuts (notably Chad Starling, Shawn Germain and Doug Spooner), and this is a team that should be flying up and down the ice.

– Huntington Beach native Cameron Cepek, a defenseman who was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL draft by Montreal, was a late roster addition.

– The team has a full day of off-ice events planned for Saturday, including some time at the beach and at the Kings’ game against the Phoenix Coyotes.