Continuing with our Development Camp Preview series, let’s help you get to know Justin Auger.
Like defenseman Zac Leslie – who we posted a preview with last hour – Auger has played for the OHL’s Guelph Storm the past two seasons. Standing a towering 6-foot-6, the young right wing posted 33 points (16 goals and 17 assists) in 68 games this year.
Here’s seven questions with Auger…
Like teammate Zac Leslie, this was your second time through the NHL Draft. What was the overall experience like this time around and how did you get the news?
“I’m really excited, I think it took a little while to sink in what actually happened there. I was up at my cottage when everything went down. I was sitting there with my family just trying to not stress out too much, because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. We were sitting around outside on the deck and I got a text from my power skating coach saying something like, ‘Congratulations Justin, that’s great, you deserve it’ and it never really said what happened. So I go on the NHL website and looked on there to see. Then, I turned to my parents and said ‘I just got drafted to LA’ and instantly they were up hugging me, giving congratulations and everything. They were extremely proud…and I’m really excited. I feel like the Kings organization would be a great fit for me. I know how they love players that play big and I think I’ll be a great fit there.”
Why not just watch the Draft on TV?
“We actually don’t get TSN up there. And I don’t know, I went through it all last year, right? Just getting passed over the first year and everything. So, I was like OK, if it happens, it happens. I’ll be extremely happy and everything but I don’t think I could sit there and watch it again.”
What was your mentality like going into the draft last year versus this year?
“Last year I think I finished off in Central Scouting ranked around #120 or something. So, I know that I talked to a few more teams this year than last year. That gave me a bit more confidence coming into it this year. But being passed over last year, my mentality coming into this past season was I’m going to make all the teams regret not taking me in sixth or seventh round last year – just come back bigger, stronger, better, second year in the league, more experience and a lot more confidence. This year, coming into the draft, I was just like, I’ve done all that I can do and there’s nothing more I can do. I’ll just let fate take it’s toll.”
Was your size a central theme that teams wanted to talk about?
“Obviously at 6-foot-6 it’s going to be something that every team brings up. I feel like that’s one of my biggest advantages. So, if teams want to talk about it or whatever, I’m happy. I can use my size to my advantage and that helps me out quite a bit.”
What do you attribute your increase in production to this year?
“I feel like confidence was the biggest thing. I felt like I belonged out there. In the first year, you know, I was mixing in like a fourth line role, not getting too much ice time. I did score a couple goals, but obviously not as many as I wanted to. Then coming back the second year, knowing that I’ve done this all before, I’m on the team and this is where I belong. I can play with these guys. I was bigger, I was stronger, and I knew that I could handle this league and it gave me so much confidence to go out there and know I can score goals, I know I can get points and that I can get power play time.”
How do you describe your style of play?
“Definitely a power forward. I like working the puck down low in the corners. That’s usually my biggest thing- taking the puck out of the corners to the net and using my size, powering through people.”
Why do you list Mike Richards as your favorite player?
“I like his style of play. He did used to play for the Kitchener Rangers [OHL], although I’m not really a Rangers fan anymore… I root for the Storm. But, growing up, I used to watch the Rangers a lot and I like the way he lead the team and the kind of player he was.”
To see the full roster of players coming to camp, click here.