This weekend’s two-game series between the Ontario Reign and visiting Tucson Roadrunners will likely have two distinctly different feels to them.
Saturday will see Kings prospect Brandt Clarke play in his final AHL game this season. Tomorrow morning, he’ll be returned to the big club and await his next set of orders. Will he stay up with the Kings, head to Team Canada’s World Junior selection camp in two weeks or be shipped back to Barrie in the OHL? Probably more of the former and not the latter. Time will tell, though.
If you missed it, Clarke joined Mayor’s Manor founder John Hoven for a pre-game discussion:
Another aspect of the Reign lineup that could change prior to Sunday’s rematch is the availability of defenseman Jacob Moverare and forward Lias Andersson. Both players were returned to the Reign earlier in the day. With Sean Durzi back from injury now for LA, it’s unclear if Moverare will be needed for their matchup vs. Ottawa on Sunday night. Technically, the Kings will have Clarke on the roster as their seventh defenseman. If there are any hiccups with LA’s starting six over the next 24 hours, would management want Clarke playing against the Senators, thereby burning the first year of his Entry Level Contract? Not if he’s possibly going to the World Juniors they wouldn’t.
Specific to Andersson, his status is still a question, especially while Brendan Lemieux and Alex Iafallo remain on the injured reserve list are still a few weeks away from returning.
When it comes to his immediate future, though, things aren’t as ambiguous for Andersson. He was on coach Marco Sturm’s top line prior to being recalled and now hasn’t played a game in either league since November 12. He’s almost surely going to play tonight.
This will be the first matchup between Ontario and Tucson this season. Last year, the Reign came out victorious in five of the eight games they played against each other. Ironically, the last time they squared off was a 4-3 overtime win for the Reign – a game in which Andersson had two goals. Need more? Andersson has only faced the Roadrunners on two other occasions in his career. And you guessed it. He scored in each of those games too.
Circling back to Moverare — considering the fact that Allard, Gaunce, and Nousiainen stayed out on the ice after morning skate at TSPC (usually an indication of who will not play), we’re penciling him in on defense.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. TUCSON ROADRUNNERS
Turcotte – Byfield – Madden
Andersson – Tynan – Fagemo
Quine – Thompson – Ward
Dudas – Helenius – Chromiak
Björnfot – Spence
Moverare – Clarke
Bisson – Grans
Game scratches: Allard, Gaunce, Lee, Nousiainen, Wagner
Out injured: Thomas, Doty
Puck drop is scheduled for 6pm PST tonight and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
ICYMI — Hoven was on Bally Sports West on Tuesday night discussing what’s next for Byfield, Clarke, and Turcotte (link here).
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