Around The Division

Another day, and another set of players have been assigned to teams within the division by their parent clubs.

The most notable of them being Reading goaltender Danny Taylor, who made his NHL debut with the Los Angeles Kings last season.

Here’s an excerpt from a Reading Royals press release about the move…

Taylor, (5’11”/186) (22), a seventh round pick of the Kings in 2004, had a spectacular, if somewhat well-traveled, second season of pro hockey last year, splitting time throughout the Los Angeles system with the Royals, Monarchs and Kings. Taylor, who was born in Plymouth, England, began the season with Manchester but did not appear in a game prior to being assigned to the Royals in mid-November. Taylor made the most of his first stint with the Royals, winning all three games he played (3-0-0, 2.64, .917) before being recalled to Manchester in early December—and that’s where things really took off. Overall, in 23 games with the Monarchs, Taylor went 13-5-2 with a 2.40 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. He had a particularly spectacular January with Manchester going 5-0-0 with a 0.87 GAA and .972 save percentage and earning the RBK X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month award. In one stretch during that month, Taylor went over 190 minutes of game action without giving up a goal.

In late March, Taylor became the fourth player in Royals’ history to play in Reading and the NHL in the same season when he was called up by the Kings. Taylor made NHL debut on March 29, 2008, playing the final twenty minutes (8 saves on 10 shots) in a 7-2 loss to the Dallas Stars. While he was with the Kings in the NHL, Taylor also made the cross-continental flight to Reading on two separate occasions in order to log two more ‘games played’ and become playoff eligible in the ECHL. To do so, Taylor played 36 seconds against Cincinnati on March 30; and then after flying to and from Los Angeles (again) played 1.8 seconds against Johnstown on April 2. In mid-April, Taylor (albeit a bit bleary-eyed, perhaps) returned to Reading and took over the reigns as the Royals’ playoff goaltender. Once again, Taylor was to the task, playing spectacularly at times as the Royals eliminated the Elmira Jackals in the North Division Semi-Finals—a series in which three of the Royals’ four wins came in overtime. Taylor was equally good in the next round against the Cincinnati Cyclones, which included a 1-0 shutout against the potent Cyclone offense in Game Five to give the Royals a 3-2 lead in the series.

In his first year as a pro, Taylor, who played 114 major junior hockey games and won a championship in the OHL before turning pro, started the season with the Bakersfield Condors, where he played seventeen games, compiling a record of 7-7-2 with a 4.33 gaa and .872 save percentage. In mid-February of 2007, Taylor joined the Wheeling Nailers for one game—a 4-3 overtime loss to the Johnstown Chiefs. He then moved on to the Texas Wildcatters, where he played portions of two regular season games, but was the goaltender of record in only one (0-1-0, 1.61, .905). In the playoffs, after substituting into Game One (a 5-2 loss) of the South Division Semi-Final match-up against the Gwinnett Gladiators, Taylor came on to win three consecutive games for the Wildcatters—the final two in overtime—and take the first round playoff series.

So if you think about it, you could see two NHL goaltenders playing in Sovereign Bank Arena in the three-game, season opening homestand.  Elmira’s Rob McVicar played for the Canucks several years ago as well.

In any event, Reading also added forwards Joe Cooper and Dan Rudisuela and released forward Matt Bragg and goalie Nick Niedert from their tryout contracts.

Cincinnati was active as well, adding goaltender Loic Lacasse, forwards Olivier Latendresse and Kyle Rank, and defenseman Matt MacDonald.

Additionally, Elmira added forward Josh Aspenlind.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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