LA Kings RW Prospect Justin Auger Could Be A Future 3rd Line Upgrade

Ontario Reign right wing and Los Angeles Kings prospect Justin Auger, shown here in Game 1 of the second round of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs against the San Diego Gulls at Citizens Business Bank Arena on May 5, 2016
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — At 6-7, 229 pounds, Justin Auger is not the kind of player who one would, at first blush, think of as anything more than a checking forward. But the 22-year-old native of Kitchener, Ontario already has a Calder Cup Championship (2014-15 season with the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs, now the Kings’ ECHL affiliate) and a 19-goal campaign with the AHL’s Ontario Reign last season.

19 goals for a checking forward? As it turns out, the development of the Kings’ fourth round pick (103rd overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has been, in a word, remarkable.

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LA Kings D Prospect Zach Leslie Remains Positive While Biding Time With Ontario Reign

LA Kings defenseman prospect Zach Leslie (center, wearing number 8), shown here during a game with the
American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — If you’ve never heard of defenseman Zach Leslie, unless you’re a fan of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, no one would blame you.

The 21-year-old native of Ottawa, Ontario, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, is now playing for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

Actually, playing might be a bit of an exaggeration, because as a first-year pro, Leslie has been mostly on the outside looking in, so to speak, with the Reign this season, having played in just five games, contributing two assists, with a +1 plus/minus rating.

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LA Kings D Prospect Nick Ebert Hopes To Solidify Spot With Ontario Reign

LA Kings defenseman prospect Nick Ebert
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the Ontario Reign’s inaugural training camp now underway, as they look ahead, there has been little talk about what their players achieved last season, when, as the Manchester Monarchs, they won the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

Indeed, the focus has, as it has usually been, on developing young players for playing in the National Hockey League for their parent club, the Los Angeles Kings, and that was no different for Reign defenseman Nick Ebert, who was selected by the Kings in the seventh round (211th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Last season, his first at the professional level, was a bit of a mixed bag, seeing him score eight goals and add six assists for 14 points, with a +13 plus/minus rating and 18 penalty minutes in 45 regular season games.

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Adding Strength Is The Priority For LA Kings Defenseman Prospect Zach 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 Zach Leslie. An audio interview with Leslie is also included.


Defenseman prospect Zach 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 — Back in June 2013, defenseman Zachary (Zach) 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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2013 Late-Round LA Kings Draft Pick Defenseman Zach Leslie Did His Best To Get Noticed

Defenseman prospect Zach 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 (Zach) 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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