In the Kings Top 10 Prospects article we released just before training camp opened, defenseman Nick Deslauriers found himself ranked eighth overall. Curiously enough, one of the names mentioned in his evaluation at that time was Matt Greene. Now, in the interview below, the 22-year old prospect reveals he’s been leaning on Greene heavily over the past month or so. He’ll also talk about Andy Andreoff, Scott Sabourin, his own toughness, playing with the Manchester Monarchs, yearning to be a member of the Kings’ NHL squad someday and much more. Here’s what he had to share…
– On if getting ready for camp this year, with a couple years pro under his belt, has been any different:
“I did a lot. I came here five weeks earlier than camp just to be with everybody and be around Ryan van Asten to work on my conditioning and everything. It helped me a lot, I feel way better on the ice. I dropped a couple pounds. Probably 10, 15 pounds lighter. It’s the first time I’ve played at this weight since juniors. I feel great now, I feel phenomenal. Ryan helped me a lot. Coming here, training with Matt Greene, Lewie [Trevor Lewis] and all those guys is a big step I took this year and I hope it helps mean lot.”
On working with Greene and any advice he received:
“When I got here, I think he was the first guy already in the gym. He’s a monster. He works hard. If you follow his path, you’re going to be the greatest person in the gym and off ice. He gave me a lot of advice this year and all of training camp he keeps talking to you, just giving you cues and everything. It’s unbelievable. That’s why he has a letter on his shirt, he’s a great leader around everybody, even the younger guys. He’s great.”
– On the competition in camp this year:
“You try to not look at it and not think about it, but I think there’s about nine D-men on one-way deals. So, I think it’s hard. But like I said, I just came here earlier just to prove myself. Just to prove myself to everybody, the GM, the staff. If something happens, if I go back to the A [American Hockey League], just have a great year and just be in their heads and be picky and if they need somebody, I’ll be ready.”
– On who’s tougher, Andreoff or Sabourin:
“I don’t know. I kind of fought a lot with Andy last year, just for fun. He’s a tough kid. I don’t know that much about Sab. He has a lot of grit, I think you saw that in the first game here in LA. He’s a great guy. I think I’ll stick with Andy because I know him a little more, and he’s a big beast.”
– On if he [Deslauriers] sneaks up on people with his toughness:
“I don’t know. I think just last year I didn’t have that many fights. I’m not a guy that’s going to look for fights, but when the team is trailing, I’ll step up. I’m a happy guy and just playing hockey, what do you want to do better than that?”
– On if his fight totals being down had anything to do with him already establishing a reputation in the AHL:
“Maybe. I think last year the few fights I had were after a big hit. There aren’t many people that scare me out there, I think I’m ready to go against anybody. But that big guy hasn’t asked me yet, so I’ll just wait for it.”
– On what he’s learned in his brief time with coach Darryl Sutter:
“I think he’s great. He doesn’t talk that much, but when he does it’s strict and on the point. I think it’s way better for me, just to listen to a coach that says less but right on the point. I like him a lot. He looks calm and strict at the same time, so that’s good.”
– On the biggest improvement he’d like to see in his personal game this season:
“For sure defensively. I was running in the Q [QMJHL] defensively from 16 to 19. My first year in the A was up and down too. I think defensively is the main point. To play in the NHL, if you want to win a Cup, win some games, you have to shut down their best lines before and after scoring some goals. So, just defensively I need to work on this again.”
Deslauriers, originally drafted in 2009, suited up for the Kings pre-season game in Phoenix last weekend – seeing 10:52 of ice time. However, he sat out Tuesday’s game vs. Anaheim and didn’t travel with the team for the game tonight in Colorado. Given the fact the Kings have too many defensemen in camp as it is, look for Deslauriers to be one of the guys headed back to Manchester as early as this weekend.
As is often said about a prospect of his caliber, better for him to be in the AHL getting regular minutes than sitting in an NHL press box. To that extent, he’s likely going to be paired with Derek Forbort out on the Monarchs’ blueline this season and should log some heavy minutes against some of the top lines in the AHL.
That type of experience should only look to sharpen all the tools Deslauriers already brings to the table.
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please include a link to www.MayorsManor.com