The Ontario Reign announced earlier today that forwards Blaine Byron and Jacob Doty have re-signed with the team, giving the organization four players under AHL contracts for the upcoming season. Byron and Doty join Reign captain Brett Sutter and rookie Nick Halloran as players under Reign contracts for the 2020-21 season.
Each forward played with the Reign a season ago. Doty came into AHL training camp on a professional try out (PTO), but after a strong showing, he made the team out of camp and stuck around for the bulk of the season, outside of a three-game stint in the ECHL with Allen to get games in. Doty appeared in 18 games in total, and recorded one assist, while providing a physical presence in the team’s bottom six when in the lineup as he earned an AHL contract as the season progressed. Doty’s intimidation towards his opposition, and the level of protection that he provides for his teammates, made him a more valuable asset than his HockeyDB page suggests, and it’ll be good to have him back as an option for the upcoming campaign.
Byron joined the Reign in December 2019 in a trade with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, where he had spent his entire professional career to date. Byron was an instant success with Ontario, as he found early chemistry on a line with Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Mikey Eyssimont, which was the team’s top unit in late-December into January, as Ontario was able to tread water while waiting for players to return from the NHL and injuries. Byron collected 21 points from 29 games played with the Reign, and was Ontario’s leading scorer from the time he joined the team through the end of the shortened season. The Ottawa native was a natural fit in the Ontario lineup – he also found chemistry later in the season with Matt Luff – which he’ll hope continues in the upcoming 2020-21 campaign.
I was able to speak with both players earlier today, and will have a more substantial piece on these two signings coming soon.