Leslie handled OHL assignment, injury commendably

By Jon Rosen, LA Kings Insider

By no accounts did the Guelph Storm experience a losing or embattled season. The Ontario Hockey League club won 38 of 68 games and defeated the Owen Sound Attack four games to one in their first round playoff match-up. For a team that hasn’t lost more regulation games than it won in over a decade, this past season represented a commendable weathering of the familiar junior hockey competitive cycle one season after a more senior Storm club won the OHL Championship and appeared in the Memorial Cup championship game.

The season wasn’t quite as formulaic for Kings defensive prospect Zac Leslie. A well-regarded member of the 2013 draft class, Leslie, a sixth round pick, followed up his 60-game, 57-point championship season with a solid 11-goal, 48-point effort in 57 games made all the more impressive considering that Guelph wasn’t the 340-goal offensive juggernaut that they were the previous season.

But as a 20-year-old, Leslie had to contend with the disappointment of not having cracked the Manchester Monarchs’ roster last fall as a skater eligible to play in either the AHL or be returned to his junior club for an overage season.

“I think it’s always tough when you essentially get cut from a team that you wanted an opportunity to play for. It’s obviously not easy,” Leslie said at the Kings’ development camp in El Segundo on Tuesday. “On top of that, I was going back to a team that really had a big transition from the team we had the year before to a younger team with a lot of younger players and a lot of guys just getting their feet wet in junior hockey. So it was something that was definitely a whole different experience for me. I didn’t have the best start to the year that I think I would’ve wanted. I think coming back from Manchester I wasn’t really into it as much, I guess. As the season went on, I really came into my own, obviously. I felt like I was playing really well up until I had to get shut down.”

The “shut down” he referenced came in late February, 2015 after he had dealt with a shoulder injury that had caused “on and off” pain and required surgery, according to a report in the Guelph Mercury. As is often the case with injuries, the decision to undergo surgery came at a difficult time, right when Leslie had been playing his best hockey of the season, having potted seven goals and 22 points with a plus-12 rating in 25 games after the turn of the calendar.

Visit to continue reading

More News
Storm will play in semi final on Friday at Memorial Cup
12 hours ago
GALLERY: Storm eliminate Prince Albert
1 day ago
5 Takeaways: Storm tackles Prince Albert to improve to 2-1
1 day ago
On the road again: Guelph Storm goalie's parents travel to every one of his games
1 day ago
Storm Post-Game: Coach George Burnett
2 days ago
Guelph Storm gets its mojo back in big win over Prince Albert
2 days ago