The Ontario Reign open their third season in Southern California and are looking to build off their third-place finish in a rugged Pacific Division. Here is how they stack up heading into the 2017-18 regular season.
Head Coach – Mike Stothers is entering his fourth year as head coach for the LA Kings AHL affiliate. His first year brought the Monarchs their first (and last) Calder Cup. The Reign and the Monarchs have yet to miss the playoffs with Stothers at the helm and have consistently vied for a division championship. With the Kings’ organization, Stothers is 150-73.
Captain – To be determined
Last Season – The Reign finished third in a strong Pacific Division with an overall record of 36-21-10-1. They were dispatched in the first round of the playoffs by the San Diego Gulls in five games.
Last season began with chaos in net. The Los Angeles Kings lost both of their netminders to injury, forcing the Reign to grab every goaltender available. At one point in time, the goaltending coach had to suit up as the backup. When the dust finally settled, Jack Campbell had claimed the starting role, with Jeff Zatkoff eventually backing him up. Campbell started slow, but eventually flew to the top of the AHL goaltending stats. During this time, an unaccountably hot power play barely made up for a dismal penalty kill, dropping the Reign to the lower end of the division.
During this time, an unaccountably hot power play barely made up for a dismal penalty kill, dropping the Reign to the lower end of the division. By mid-season, everything had calmed down and the Reign were climbing the standings again. The net curse struck in the last game of the first round, however, as Campbell was declared unable to play a couple of hours before the game. Zatkoff was injured in warm-ups and third-string goalie Jack Flinn. The Reign were eliminated in a 4-1 loss.
- Leading goal scorer, Jonny Brodzinski earns spot with LA Kings, won’t be contributing to Reign’s offense
- Top prospects Michael Mersch & Paul LaDue sent back to the Reign in a surprise roster move
- Matt Luff & Phillippe Maillet looking to live up to the hype in their first full year with Ontario
- Will Jack Campbell be the starter again? Can Cal Peterson make a case to stay in California?
- Since their move to California, the Kings’ AHL affiliate has been beset with problems in net, usually leading to an unexpected goalie taking the reins.
- Kevin Gravel was also returned to the inland empire after spending the second half of last season with the Kings, providing experience & skill on the blueline
- T.J. Hensick resigned with the Reign in the offseason after leading them in scoring last season
- Matt Luff has joined the Reign as an exciting prospect and is so far living up to the hype. At least in preseason play
Blocked & Reported
- Captain Vincent LoVerde was picked up by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the offseason & sent to the Marlies.
- Paul Bissonette retired from playing to join the Arizona Coyotes broadcasting team
- Teddy Purcell was let go by the Kings and didn’t make the cut with the Boston Bruins. He is currently unsigned.
Reign look to new guys to fill gap left by JonnyB while keeping the Reign big ‘n mean. Large blueline will be relied on to stop speedy Pacific rivals.
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