Even before their annual preseason game at Anaheim’s Honda Center, it’s already been an eventful day for coach John Wroblewski and the Ontario Reign. With LA GM Rob Blake needing to turn in his initial roster to the NHL office today, a pair of players were placed on waivers yesterday. Both forward Austin Wagner and defenseman Austin Strand cleared waivers and subsequently assigned to the AHL.
In Wagner, the Reign are inheriting a player with 171 games of NHL experience. He posted 22 goals and 18 assists over that stretch, including a breakout rookie season in 2018-19, where he scored 12 goals in 62 games. His offensive output slipped in each of the next two seasons and he now finds himself at a bit of a crossroads.
Although he won’t play tonight, Wagner has suited up for 59 AHL games previously, beginning with a 50-game rookie campaign in 2017-18.
Strand also won’t see game action tonight, yet he’s joining a Reign team that he’s very familiar with. In addition to playing 19 games for Wroblewski in a shortened 2021 season, Strand also played 43 and 41 AHL games in the two prior years. At 6-foot-3, he will bring size and experience to a rather young group of blueliners. How long he stays in the AHL will be something to monitor. Multiple sources inside Kings management confirmed to MayorsManor that they liked what they saw from the 24-year-old Calgary native, feeling he built upon what he showed last season and is considered to be a viable option should the need arise for a call-up to the Kings at some point.
As for tonight’s projected lineup, one name below is somewhat of a surprise — forward Dallas Gerads. After spending four years at Minnesota State, including serving as the team’s alternate captain last season, he signed with ECHL Greenville last month. With a group already too large to manage in Ontario, it’s doubtful he’s in a position to step into a role with Ontario right now. However, it is noticeable that he’s getting a second preseason game when the Reign have a few other healthy bodies sitting on the sidelines.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. SAN DIEGO GULLS on 10/11
Madden – Turcotte – Kupari
Burke – JAD – Dudas
Gerads – Sutter – Doty
Sodergran – Pavlychev – Kemp
Other options include: Fagemo, Frk, Johnson, Tynan, and Wagner
Moverare – Grans
Clague – Spence
Phillips – Durzi
Other options include: Gaunce, Russell, Strand, and Kasastul
For a deeper look at the full list of players that Wrobo and the Reign are working with leading into opening night on October 16, see our article linked below.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm tonight and then Ontario will begin their 2021-22 next Saturday at home. You can watch the game from Honda Center on the Gulls YouTube channel:
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