After being the very last player taken at the 2012 NHL Draft, defenseman Nick Ebert had nowhere to go but up. He made a favorable impression during a brief stint with the Ontario Reign the following year, but it was this past season where he really started to capture the attention of most people. Traded by the Windsor Spitfires to the OHL’s Guelph Storm (yes, the same team Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty played for), he was thrown into the middle of the OHL playoff race – and ultimately made it to the Memorial Cup.
On Monday night in Los Angeles, he was a notable standout among a largely prospect filled Kings team. Later in the evening, one Kings executive was raving about his play in the two pre-season games this week and told MayorsManor he wouldn’t be surprised if Ebert ends up turning pro (and playing in Manchester), rather than returning to junior for his over-age year.
Here is what Ebert himself had to share following the Kings shootout win over the visiting Ducks…
On playing at Staples Center:
“Obviously it’s exciting. It’s my second game, my first real exhibition game. It was a good game for us, good for the team. Obviously we had more of a younger group. We stuck together, played hard. There are some things we would like to clean up, but for the most part, it was pretty good.”
On his confidence level:
“I feel good. It was an okay summer for me, it was a little bit shorter than I wanted it to be- just as far training and skating and stuff like that. It was a little bit short, but it went well… Whenever you’re out there with the NHL guys, you want to make an impression and do all the right things. Playing simple is a start and then picking your spots, jumping in the play is what Coach Stevens wants me to do. So, I’m just going to keep doing that and hopefully it works out.”
On what he has learned in training camp:
“It’s been pretty standard. Obviously, getting more time with the NHL guys always helps. Just gotta keep working hard and fixing some of the small things that really make a big difference, I think.”
On beating a veteran Ducks team tonight:
“Yeah. It was definitely a little bit different playing an older team. Our team was a little but younger, but we stuck together. We played well as a group. Obviously there are some things you want to clean up, but I think overall it was a pretty good effort.”
On the rivalry between the Kings and Ducks:
“It’s hard hockey. Everyone is going 100%. There are no off shifts out there. You can’t be caught napping at all, you have to be 100%. You have to be focused and you always have to be going as hard as you can.”
On what he wants to work on this season:
“Just learning the pro style. It’s my first year of pro, so it’s a pretty big jump for me. I feel I’ve adjusted pretty well so far throughout training camp. I just want to keep moving forward and taking steps and being better all around- especially in my defensive zone.”
On playing with Derek Forbort:
“Well, this is our second game together and it’s been pretty good so far. Derek is a pretty exceptional player. He’s fun to play with, he’s a big guy, plays well defensively. He’s not afraid to jump into the play like me as well, so it’s been pretty well so far.”
For more on Ebert, check out what former NHL defenseman Mark Hardy had to say about him here.
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