As mentioned when we kicked off this year’s Development Camp Preview series, there will be at least two spots up for grabs in our next edition of the Kings Top Ten Prospect Rankings. Tyler Toffoli and Jake Muzzin both made the jump to the NHL this past season. Plus, a player or two may slip out and be surpassed by a guy who was on the bubble when the mid-year rankings were published in January.
Ebert was the absolute last player selected at the 2012 NHL Draft, and with the Kings coming off winning the Stanley Cup just a few weeks earlier, he didn’t exactly command a lot of attention at last year’s camp in El Segundo.
Boy what a difference a year makes.
His stats over three seasons with his junior club, the Warren Rychel-run Windsor Spitfires in the OHL, have remained pretty consistent. He’s been good for about 66 games and 39 points. However, when his team failed to make the playoffs in April, the Kings assigned him to the Ontario Reign, their ECHL affiliate.
Watching this kid on a nightly basis opened up a lot of eyes, including those of former Kings defenseman and assistant coach Mark Hardy. Now a member of the Reign coaching staff, Hardy continually raved abut young Ebert and we chronicled his performance through the ECHL playoffs here on MayorsManor.
He has an electric shot from the point and plays solid shut down defense.
And to help you get to know him a little better, here are seven questions with the 19-year old blueliner…
When you reflect back on your time in the ECHL, what’s the key take away?
“It was a great experience for me. It was a great step into pro hockey. I learned a lot, a lot of valuable lessons there. Great coaching staff, and I played with a bunch of good players. It was definitely an experience that I’ll carry for as long as I play, for sure…the first time pro.”
Because it wasn’t your ‘normal’ team, so you weren’t as invested in the outcome as you would be in Windsor, did that maybe help you relax a little bit?
“Yeah, you can look at it in a couple different ways. So I guess you can look at it in that way as well. It was a new experience for me, as far as coming in late. I mean, I played a whole season with Windsor so to come in late was different and I think that maybe it was a little bit that it wasn’t really my team and it was all kind of new, so that was nice.”
What can you tell us about your exit meeting in Ontario, where you and Hardy talked about Drew Doughty?
“I remember it was a good conversation. He was just talking about the way I play the game and he said that Drew Doughty plays with no fear and that’s something I would have to add to my game. The confidence thing too, Drew Doughty has all the confidence in the world with the puck and is not afraid to do what he wants. I think that’s one of the things that Mark was trying to tell me a little bit and urging me on as far as that. You know, playing a game with no fear as far as making plays and jumping into the rush. So that was one thing that I remember him saying.”
You went to draft this year, even though you had already been selected. Why were you there this year?
“It was a few things. My teammate, Kerby Rychel, was drafted this year, so I wanted to come support him. And then TSN wanted me to come down because it was so close to my hometown (in New Jersey) and they wanted to have a little chat with me…So, overall, it was good to go down, it was a good experience…I didn’t actually go to the draft in Pittsburgh (in 2012), I just watched it. That was a bit different though, watching it. This year, because I’d already been drafted, it was a bit easier, less stressful. It was more just a good time and supporting a couple guys that I know and it was good to see some familiar faces.”
During your interview with TSN, you mentioned praying during the 2012 Draft…
“I’m very faithful. I always go to church and stuff like that. My dad and I are big Christians. On Draft Day, I just left things up to God and put him in control and I was fortunate enough to get drafted. So, that’s something that I do often.”
As a returning camper, do you come in with a little more confidence that you did last summer?
“Absolutely. Obviously, I know most of the things that are going down and a little bit more of the schedule now. It’s a lot easier knowing what you’re going to expect, so I think that’s definitely a plus. Also, I’m a year older this year and I know a couple more of the guys, so it’s definitely more comfortable going in. It’s always a fun time too, playing against your peers and other prospects and getting to know some of the new guys, plus trying to make a good impression on the LA staff.”
Who’s the one guy you’re most looking forward to seeing at camp?
“One guy is JF Berube, obviously I played with him with the Ontario Reign. He’ll be one of the familiar faces this year. I battled with him in the playoffs this year and he had a very good year in Ontario and a good playoffs too. He’s a great player and a good friend of mine now, so it will be good to see him.”
Earlier today we posted a camp preview with Berube. If you missed it, click here.
Next in the series, we’ll stay in the OHL and check in with a kid who signed with the Kings after being invited to camp as a free agent last year, defenseman Kurtis MacDermid of the Owen Sound Attack.
For a loo at the complete Development Camp roster and schedule, click here.