Reign make final cuts, set opening-day roster

Forwards Joel Irving, Tyler Mugford and Doug Spooner, and defenseman Cameron Cepek, became the Reign’s final training camp cuts Wednesday when the opening-day roster was submitted to the ECHL

Forwards Tony Voce (7-day), Todd Jackson (21-day) and Robert Pearce (21-day), and defenseman Dan Knapp (3-day), will begin the season on injured reserve.
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Reign at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. tonight. Update.

As with any sport, the value of an ECHL preseason game lies less in getting a win as much as assessing the team’s talent, deciding who to keep and who to cut.

“We’ll try to get everybody in and if not, oh well. That’s life,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said.

In a way, this is an even more delicate exercise in the ECHL, with so much turnover from year to year (although the Reign have a particularly high retention rate — 12 of the 30 players who appeared in a game last season are back). But for more than half of his 27 players, Karl Taylor has no frame of reference for how they’ll execute for him in a game. On the other hand, there can be as much turnover during the ECHL season as the off-season because of AHL recalls, injuries, trades, and the occasional roster cut. Maybe none of the players on tonight’s roster will make it through to the end of the season in Ontario.

That said, here they are:
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Reign: Training camp begins today. Update.

Just a reminder that Reign training camp starts today at 10:30 a.m. with a free, open-to-the-public practice at Center Ice Arena in Ontario. Geoff Walker is still in Manchester, N.H. with the Kings’ AHL affiliate; here are the other players under contract that are expected to attend:

Jon Rheault
Doug Spooner
Todd Jackson
Tim Kraus
Jon Francisco
Dan Leslie
Robert Pearce
Brian Matte
Tyler Mugford
Peter Lenes
Joel Irving
James McEwan
Tony Voce
Mike Howe
Chris Curran*

Chad Starling
David Walker
Shawn Germain
Brian Kilburg
Dan Knapp
Andrew Martens
Cameron Cepek
Maxime Frechette

Mike Zacharias
Curtis Darling

*Curran is still recovering from the leg injury he sustained at the end of last season. Last we heard, he is expected to be at the practice, but not participating in all aspects.

Update (9 a.m.): Geoff Walker has signed an AHL contract with Manchester. The right wing is likely to start the season with the Monarchs and, although he might be back in Ontario at some point during the season, he’d probably prefer to make his next move up to the NHL.

Also, Manchester has assigned left wing Dwight King and forward Michael Pelech to the Reign, and released Mike Egener, Lenes, McEwan, Mugford, Pearce and Zacharias from their tryouts.

Pelech, a 6-3, 206-pound center, recently completed a four-year career in the Ontario Hockey League. He recorded 51 goals and 170 points in 249 games between Missisauga, Kitchener and St. Michael’s. Last season in Missisauga, he had 19 goals and 65 points in 68 games. Pelech was chosen in the sixth round of the June entry draft by the Kings.

King, a 6-3, 220-pound center, just finished his junior career with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Saskatchewan native [stats here] was nearly a point-a-game player his final two seasons in Lethbridge, finishing with 25 goals and 60 points in 64 games in 2008-09. The Kings selected him in the fourth round of the June draft.

10:15 a.m. update: The ECHL has officially reviewed all the training camp rosters from its member teams, so the above roster should be accurate. Mike Egener isn’t on it, and Voce, Frechette, Cepek and Darling are the additions. We’ll update a bit later on.P