Building the Herd – Kurt Reynolds

#7 Kurt Reynolds

Position: Defence

Born: Basingstoke, England

Announced as signed: Bison website, Wednesday 20th April

They’ve been coming thick and fast this week and we have another returnee to the Bison ranks in the form of home town boy and 2010/11 Best British Player, Kurt Reynolds.

Reynolds, like Bronnimann yesterday, enjoyed a career year scoring 4 goals and 19 assists for 23 points making him the 2nd highest scorer amongst team defencemen. He also clocked up 46 PIMs, also a career high for the former Hartford Jr Wolf Pack and Bracknell player.

Reynolds wraps up the week of re-signings with the closest to home of the group. A local boy by birth who works locally outside of hockey, it wasn’t a hard leap to make. I rarely guess correctly when the club announce a signing unless I am told outright before the announcement. This one I actually guessed off the top of my head pretty close after Oli was revealed as yesterday’s signing so I will claim 1 smug point for that.

Like Bronnimann, I feel Reynolds had a much better 2010/11 than 09/10. If asked to reflect on Reynolds’ first season in Basingstoke during the last EIHL season, he was the Lindt bunny amongst the dog turds. In a season when the team was beyond help Reynolds stood out as a hard-working, talented player who was a genuine talent. Whilst most people looked like that compared to Mike Olynyk (still without a doubt the worst player I’ve seen and that includes a rec game I saw between Basingstoke Hyenas and Solihull Vipers), Reynolds was genuinely a prospect and was the only returnee to Basingstoke for the club’s first foray in to the EPL.

However something didn’t seem right during the 09/10 season. Maybe his quality play had overdone our expectations as fans but I didn’t think Kurt had a great season. He had an ok year but he seemed to have lost some of that spark and seemed to take a while to acclimatise to EPL hockey again. He could still turn on a sixpence but seemed to turn into trouble time and again.

This season was a brilliant return to form as it were. His points total doubled and his partnership with Sam Oakford gives the Bison arguably one of the best British defence partnerships in the league and both are under 25 with arguably their best years to come. His handling coupled with his first class skating ability make watching him a lot of fun. He protects the puck brilliantly, often turning opposition forwards inside out in his own zone before firing the outlet pass or surging forward to join the rush. He’s an offensively minded defender who actually remembers to defend which is handy. Some players who jump up and join the rush end up leaving a giant hole at the back. Now from time to time this happens, nobody’s perfect but Reynolds is rarely guilty of this.

Sadly I think things might go quiet on the signing front for a while but you never know. Hockey always has way of surprising us. Welcome back Kurt.

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