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Adding Strength Is The Priority For LA Kings Defenseman Prospect Zac Leslie

LA KINGS PROSPECT WATCH: Throughout the summer, Frozen Royalty will be taking a look at several of the Los Angeles Kings’ young prospects. In this installment the focus is on 2013 sixth round selection Zac Leslie. An audio interview with Leslie is also included.


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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Back in June 2013, defenseman Zachary (Zac) Leslie was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft and about one week later, he found himself on the ice at the team’s 2013 Development Camp, facing several of the Kings’ older prospects, many of whom had experience at the American Hockey League level.

Going up against players with a lot more experience was quite the challenge.

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LA Kings Goalie Prospect J.F. Berube Is Taking Full Advantage of Opportunity With Manchester Monarchs

Los Angeles Kings goaltender prospect Jean-Francois Berube, shown here during a recent practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Generally speaking, professional hockey players don’t get to go on vacation until spring or summer, when their season ends, except during an Olympic year, when National Hockey League players who are not playing for their national teams get some time off during the Games. But the season continues for the rest of the professional leagues in North America during the Olympic break, and that is exactly what is happening during the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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Transition To North American Game Hasn’t Been Easy For LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here during the team’s
2013-14 training camp in October 2013.
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ONTARIO, CA — While the National Hockey League is off the ice during the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, other North American leagues are still on the ice, including the ECHL, where Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn is working to hone his skills.

Almost four years ago, Kitsyn, a native of Novokuznetsk, Russia who was 18 years of age at the time, came to Los Angeles for the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, held at Staples Center. He was selected by the Kings in the sixth round (158th overall).

Back then, Kitsyn was already playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and aside from a 32-game stint in the 2010-11 season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, he remained in the KHL. As a result, for many NHL followers, he was out of sight, out of mind. He became a mostly forgotten Kings prospect.

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Gasper Kopitar: Forever Skating In Big Brother Anze’s Shadow

Ontario Reign center Gasper Kopitar, the younger brother of Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, scored the overtime
game-winner in his home debut, leading the Reign to a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Bulls at
Citizens Business Bank Arena, in Ontario, California on January 5, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ONTARIO, CA — Those who have brothers or sisters should be very familiar with sibling rivalry, and even having an older sibling who excelled in everything, and then having to follow in their footsteps with those huge shoes to fill.

If you think that’s bad, imagine being the little brother trying to live up to sky-high expectations set by an older brother who is among the best in the world in his chosen field or profession.

That is exactly what Gasper Kopitar has experienced throughout his life, dealing with stratospheric expectations as he follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar.

The older Kopitar, now 26 years old, is considered to be among the National Hockey League’s best players, and he has excelled at every level he has played at, whether it was back home in Slovenia as a teenager, two years in Sweden, and then in the NHL with the Kings, winning the Stanley Cup in 2012.

Those are enormous skate boots to fill, and the younger Kopitar indicated that unrealistic expectations nearly drove him away from the game for good.

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