Leadership Skills Give Zac Leslie, Valentin Zykov A Boost At LA Kings Development Camp

AUDIO: Interviews with Los Angeles Kings prospects Zac Leslie and Valentin Zykov are included.

LA Kings right wing prospect Valentin Zykov
(click above for larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When most people who follow the National Hockey League look at a team’s prospects coming up through their system, the focus is almost exclusively on a particular player’s development, in terms of how they are improving their play.

But equally important in player development is how they handle themselves off the ice, and especially in terms of intangible qualities that can either benefit or hurt a player, especially a young, up-and-coming one.

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LA Kings Do Development Camp Differently

AUDIO: Story includes audio interviews with Nelson Emerson and Mike O’Connell from the Los Angeles Kings development staff.

LA Kings Director of Player Development Nelson Emerson
(click above for larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Years ago, the Los Angeles Kings ran their annual summer Development Camp for their young prospects as many National Hockey League clubs still do: focusing on the on-ice part of the game, including lots of scrimmage time. Some teams emphasize the scrimmage portion of their development camps, using that to retain and increase fan interest during the off-season lull. Some teams even go so far as to make their development camp scrimmages enough of a spectacle in which fans buy tickets to watch the games.

In the early years of their Development Camp, the Kings did that, too. But as Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi built his team into a two-time Stanley Cup Champion in recent years, their Development Camp has evolved into one that stresses off-ice instruction and training as much or more than on-ice instruction and drills. In fact, over the past handful of years, it has not been uncommon for the Kings to not play a scrimmage at all during their Development Camp. On top of that, their camp is so low-key that the team does not announce exact starting times for on-ice sessions, and only one day is designated as “media day,” when the local media are granted access to the prospects and the development staff for interviews.

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A Glimpse At The Critical Role Development Has Played In LA Kings’ Championships

Former NHL defenseman and general manager Mike O’Connell (standing) instructs LA Kings prospects during the team’s 2014 Development Camp on July 8, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

2014 DEVELOPMENT CAMP: Frozen Royalty begins its coverage of the Los Angeles Kings’ 2014 Development Camp with a story on what the team is trying to accomplish during their annual camp for their young prospects and the impact their development staff has had on the team’s success. ALSO: listen to an audio interview with former Kings left wing Mike Donnelly, now on the team’s development and scouting staffs.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The hockey world is now in what should probably be known as The Dreaded Lull, that period between the height of unrestricted free agent signings on July 1, and the start of National Hockey League training camps in mid-September, a period when it seems like everything related to the game has been sucked into a black hole.

The result: hockey fans are bored out of their minds, clamoring for any little tidbit of something hockey-related to help them survive the two-and-a-half months before training camps open.

Something that helps fans cope is that NHL teams now have development camps for their young prospects in July and August, giving fans and hockey media alike something to chew on during The Dreaded Lull, and the Los Angeles Kings are no exception.

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2013 Late-Round LA Kings Draft Pick Defenseman Zac Leslie Did His Best To Get Noticed

Defenseman prospect Zac Leslie, was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.met

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Traditionally, players who are selected by National Hockey League teams in the later rounds of the annual draft are overlooked until they move up a team’s depth chart significantly, and defenseman Zachary (Zac) Leslie, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, is no exception.

Indeed, there was no media coverage when he was announced as the Kings’ sixth round pick. No television, radio, web or print interviews. But fast forward a few weeks, and like so many of the other Kings prospects, the 6-1, 172-pound native of Ottawa, Ontario jumped at the chance to get noticed at the team’s annual Development Camp in July.

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Former Kings Superstar Defenseman Rob Blake Joins LA Kings Braintrust As Assistant GM

ROB BLAKE NAMED ASSISTANT GM: Frozen Royalty brings you in-depth coverage of the Los Angeles Kings naming their former superstar defenseman Rob Blake as their new assistant general manager, replacing Ron Hextall. For those who are critical of bringing Blake back into the fold, be sure to read the next story on Frozen Royalty, featuring Dean Lombardi explaining why the criticism is unwarranted.

Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Blake was named as the team’s assistant general manager on July 17, 2013.
(click above to view a larger image).
Photo: Wendi Kaminski/NHLI via Getty Images
and the Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — July 18 turned out to be a big news day for the Los Angeles Kings, who named former Kings defenseman Rob Blake as their assistant general manager, replacing Ron Hextall, who has accepted the assistant general manager position with the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Kings also signed winger and captain Dustin Brown to an eight-year contract extension. A story on that, with comments from Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi, as well as from Brown, will be published later here on Frozen Royalty.

Blake played the majority of his National Hockey League career with the Kings, who selected him in the fourth round (70th overall) of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, beginning his NHL career with the Kings in the 1990-91 season.

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