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Claimed:Reign Add Spud, Taylor for Playoff Push

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Riga, Latvia – On April 6th, 2014, the Cologne Express officially announced that generational talent Kameron Taylor and all-star defenseman Malcom Spud were officially on the trading block. While rumors of these two players being moved date back to Season Thirty-Six, it wasn’t until this past Sunday that fans in Riga and other cities around the Victory Hockey League could really get their hopes up that their team could add these stars to their rosters. Social media was ablaze with prominent hockey pundits and bloggers alike posting all sorts of crazy rumors, ranging from mega trades involving Cologne and essentially every playoff team in the VHL, to rumblings of an early retirement announcement coming from Taylor. However, at 11:49AM EST (which is about 10:49 CST), the Riga Reign released the following press release which would change the course of their season.


“The Riga Reign have acquired center Kameron Taylor, winger Guido Schwarz Esq., and defenseman Malcom Spud from the Cologne Express in exchange for the S38 Riga 1st round pick, S39 Riga 1st round pick, and S39 Riga 2nd round pick. This trade will be completed at the end of Season Thirty-Seven.”




     In the blink of an eye, the Riga Reign turned themselves from a rebuilding team just making an appearance in the playoffs into a legitimate contender in the European Conference. Riga’s roster already boasted a strong core of young forwards, featuring captain Brennan McQueen, center Robin Gow, and off-season acquisition Mikey Blade. The acquisitions of a potential hall of fame center and another well-rounded veteran winger allowed everyone to slide down a position on the depth chart to a role they most likely should be playing at this point in their careers. For example, while Robin Gow is an exciting young player with much of his career ahead of him, he should not be second in the league in minutes played on a team with Continental Cup aspirations. Taylor will now center a line with Mikey Blade and Schwarz Esq., while the famed McGow line, which dates back to the Season Thirty-Five Founder’s Cup winning Ottawa Lynx, will be reunited. While this group of forwards may not be the best in the VHL, they can now hold their own against the best of the VHL.


     It is no stretch of the imagination to say that the achilles heel of the Reign this season has been its defense. While Slaeter Fjorsstrom is a blue chip prospect and Phil Villeneuve can be a solid defenseman in this league, neither one of them should be a team’s number one defenseman at this point in time. Similar to the forwards, Malcom Spud allows these two players to slide down into roles that put them in a better position to succeed. While Spud may not be destined for enshrinement after his career, he is still one of the best defensemen in the VHL. His presence rounds out a group of defensemen that can now be labeled as solid at worst.



Can Szatkowski Jr. lead the Riga Reign to the Cup?


     The real wildcard for Riga going forward is goaltender Mike Szatkowski Jr. It’s been proven by the Season Thirty-Six HC Davos Dynamo and Season Thirty-Three Riga Reign that a top-flight goaltender is not necessary to capture the Continental Cup. Lennox Moher and Jehovah were both good, bordering on great goalies, but none were considered one of the top goalies in the league during the season they won it all. As a second year player in the VHL, Szatkowski Jr. is somewhere in that range. At this point in time, it’s safe to say that Mike may not be at level of either of these goalies, but he is not far off. If the Reign are to make some noise in the playoffs, Szatkowski Jr. will need to match the likes of Tukio and LeBeau and give his team a chance to win in each game. While the Reign may not be considered the favorite out of the European Conference, acquiring Taylor and Spud have made things much more interesting.



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Guest Svoboda_3

Content: 3/3

683 words. Riga made some moves to load up and by all accounts, the roster looks like something that could give Davos fits. You documented the trade and the finer details very well. This was well-written.

Grammar: 2/2

all-star = All-Star

hall of fame = Hall of Fame

Appearance: 1/1

Very Riga-rrific

Overall: 6/6

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