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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European merry-go-round begins.

The season is early, but the score looks good: Reign 2, Europe 1.

Travis Gawryletz was suspended by the team on Monday after the defenseman headed to the Czech Republic to play for HC Energie Karlovy Vary. Wikipedia notes that Karlovy Vary is “a spa city situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplám,” so good for Travis.

In addition to defenseman Philippe Seydoux, who is already on the roster but still waiting for his B-1 (work) visa, the Reign added another European import. Defenseman JP Cote comes to the Reign via the DEL, the highest league in Germany, where he split the last two seasons between the Hamburg Freezers and the Kassel Huskies. The 29-year-old returned to the American Hockey League this season for a training-camp tryout with the Abbotsford Heat, but was recently cut.

Cote played in the AHL from 2003-09 before heading to Europe, interrupted only by an eight-game stint with the Montreal Canadiens in 2005-06. If he appears in a game with the Reign he will become the first player with prior NHL playing experience, excluding preseason games, to suit up for the franchise. Listed at 6-foot-2, 213 pounds, he’ll be hard to miss.

More on his NHL time in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

One other newcomer to practice Tuesday: Center Matt Tassone, a 2008 draft pick by the Dallas Stars who wasn’t given a qualifying offer after taking part in the Stars’ NHL camp this year. Tassone was limited by injuries to 32 games last year with the Idaho Steelheads, the Stars’ ECHL affiliate, scoring seven goals and 10 points.

A few more notes:

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Camp notes: Beefing up on ‘D’, the plan for Saturday, etc.

If this were the regular season, it wouldn’t be a story. But since it’s training camp, a time when coaches are supposed to have more players than locker stalls, the fact that the Reign still only have five defensemen on the ice is sticking out like a sore knee (Jason Fredricks), a case of mononucleosis (Adrian van de Mosselaer) or an unexpected immigration hang-up (Chad Starling).

The group grew by one today, to five, when Travis Gawryletz was cleared to join on-ice activities. Gawryletz (pronounced GAR-lits) came from the Manchester Monarchs’ camp and becomes the fifth player in Ontario with at least 30 games of AHL experience over the two last seasons (Dylan Yeo, J.D. Watt, Brady Calla and Derek Couture are the others).

Gawryletz was beaten out for an AHL roster spot by Jordan Hill, who re-signed with the Reign over the summer, but was whisked away when the Monarchs signed him to an AHL contract yesterday. Both defensemen were in the Monarchs’ camp on tryouts.

Fredricks and van de Mosslaer aren’t expected to be ready until November, while Starling’s arrival date remains up in the air. That means that Jason Christie has some work to do if he wants three defense pairs in time for Saturday’s exhibition opener against Las Vegas.

“We have to take a different avenue now because we had (Hill) penciled in,” Christie said. “Gotta work the phones. Got two days to get it done.”

Some more notes:
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Lines taking shape, cuts coming, Kyle Reed’s local connection.

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:
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Fredricks out 4-6 weeks, reinforcements on the way, camp cuts. Update.

Bad news for defenseman Jason Fredricks, who will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a knee injury sustained in practice Sunday. Fredricks was one of only four defensemen on the ice to begin camp; Chad Starling is dealing with an immigration issue, Adrian van de Mosselaer is recovering from mononucleosis, and two other signed defensemen are still in the Manchester Monarchs’ training camp.

Fredricks’ injury briefly left the Reign with three defensemen. With the first exhibition game looming Saturday, head coach Jason Christie signed defenseman Jeff MacPhee (no relation to defenseman Iain McPhee) to a pro tryout contract. MacPhee, 26, appeared in four games with the Bloomington PrairieThunder last season after spending most of the year in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Christie said he’s also signed Travis Gawryletz, a fourth-year pro who is still in camp with the Monarchs. That makes two defensemen hung up in Manchester, along with Jordan Hill.

Update: The Monarchs announced that they’ve cut Gawryletz, so he should be en route to Ontario soon. The 25-year-old spent the majority of the last two seasons in the AHL with Lake Erie; last season he put up four goals, 18 points and 46 penalty minutes in 69 games. He has size (6-2, 200) and the distinction of being drafted in the now-nonexistent eighth round (253rd overall) of the NHL Entry Draft in 2004 by Philadelphia — ahead of Pekka Rinne (258), Mark Streit (262) and Luke Beaverson (283), but behind Alex Ovechkin (1), Yutaka Fukufuji (238) and Dusty Collins (163).

There were two new arrivals at camp Tuesday.

Right wing J.D. Watt amassed an impressive 86 penalty minutes in only 37 games last season between the Abbotsford Heat and San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. Watt was in Manchester on a tryout. In his last full AHL season, 2009-10, the 24-year-old had 267 penalty minutes in 70 games, along with eight goals and 13 points.

Watt played 18 games for the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2008-09 and one game for the Utah Grizzlies in 2009-10, but has otherwise spent his entire three-year professional career in the AHL. Listed at 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, Watt was a fourth-round draft pick (111th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 2005.

Forward Francois Brisebois also joined the Reign after being released from his AHL tryout with the Chicago Wolves. The 23-year-old Montreal native finished a four-year career with Colgate University last season with a 17-goal, 17-assist campaign in 42 games. He also appeared in three regular-season games with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.

To make room for the new arrivals, three players were cut. Forward Andrew Monesi of Simi Valley and goalie Darren Yount of Alta Loma earned their spots out of the team’s open free agent tryout. Forward Mike Thomson of La Habra Heights was in camp on a pro tryout contract.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.