Toby’s Last Stand is no more.
Or, more appropriately… it’s at least been delayed a bit.
Heading into Wednesday night’s game, it appeared it would be defenseman Toby Bjornfot’s last game of his AHL conditioning assignment. After basically being idle for about a month, Kings management had him join the Reign for what was expected to be a two-week stint. From what we understand through various sources, the 22-year-old blueliner is now expected to remain with the Reign through the weekend and will not be joining up with the Kings in New York prior to their back-to-back weekend set with the Islanders and Rangers. Originally, it was believed the Bjornfot conditioning period was essentially paused when he was injured (and subsequently recalled to the NHL and placed on injured reserve). However, upon further communication with the league, it was determined that the conditioning assignment could be restarted. Thus, Bjornfot can play a few more AHL games.
For now, he will remain slotted in alongside LA’s top prospect, Brandt Clarke, on coach Marco Sturm’s top defensive pairing.
The Reign also made an interesting roster move yesterday, signing defenseman Cody Haiskanen to a Professional Tryout Agreement (PTO). The 26-year-old right shot is a second-year pro out of Cornell University. Last season, he was with the ECHL Idaho Steelheads. On the surface, it’s an intriguing signing, as the Reign are already carrying several extra defensemen. Of course, a few of them have been shuttling back and forth between ECHL Greeneville, so that’s always an option to thin the herd when needed. Look for Haiskanen to make his Reign debut at Toyota Arena later tonight.
Up front, we’re expecting one significant change at forward against Henderson. Based on how Sturm has had things aligned in practice, look for Kings prospect Franky Pinelli to finally draw back in — but this time as the 4C. Pinelli had played center at times during Dev Camp, Training Camp, and this year’s exhibition season. However, he’s been used almost exclusively at wing ever since the AHL season actually began. Of late, the rookie forward has found himself rotating in and out of the lineup for about a month now. Then, he sat out the last two games, so this will be something to keep an eye on.
Pinelli will be taking the place normally occupied by Sammy Helenius. The big Finn may be a little banged up right now. While that’s unconfirmed, he is coming off of three fights over the past seven games. Either way, look for Helenius and Jacob Doty to watch from upstairs tonight.
This will be the second game of Ontario and Henderson’s eight-game season series. In their only other matchup this season, the Reign came away with a 4-1 victory back in late October. It was Brandt Clarke’s most productive night of the season. He recorded three points (1G, 2A) and was a plus-4. More recently, he has had multi-point nights in four of his last seven outings. Clarke is tied for the league lead in points (20) among all AHL defensemen.
Recently, Reign GM Rich Seeley stopped by Kings Of The Podcast to talk about many of the players mentioned above. Check out the link below if you missed it.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. HENDERSON SILVER KNIGHTS
Madden – Tynan – Fagemo
Hudon – Maltsev – Chromiak
Ward – Turcotte – Thomas
Lee – Pinelli – Hodgson
Other options include: Doty, Helenius
Bjornfot – Clarke
Krygier – Wylie
Connauton – Haiskanen
Other options include: Hicketts, Nousiainen, Santini
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm Pacific Time and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
Game day graphic via ALo Images
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