2009-10: Zac Leslie appeared in one junior A game as a 16-year-old and played for the Ottawa Junior 67’s midget AAA and minor midget teams. He had no points nor penalty minutes in his one game with the CJHL’s Gloucester Rangers. He played eight midget AAA games for the Junior 67’s, including three playoff games, and scored 1 goal with 3 assists and 4 penalty minutes. In 29 games for Ottawa’s midget minor team he scored 10 goals with 24 assists and had 36 penalty minutes. Leslie scored 2 goals with 6 assists and 12 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games as the Junior 67’s captured the central region silver medal. Leslie was selected by Guelph in the fourth round (63rd overall) of the 2010 OHL Priority Draft.
2010-11: Leslie skated for the CCHL’s Gloucester Rangers in Canadian junior A hockey – keeping his college hockey options open. He scored 13 goals with 22 assists and had 26 penalty minutes in 56 games. The Rangers finished fourth and reached the second round in the playoffs. Leslie scored 1 goal with 3 assists and had 4 penalty minutes in nine playoff games.
2011-12: Leslie signed with the OHL’s Guelph Storm, foregoing NCAA college hockey. He played 65 games for the Storm in his first season and scored 2 goals with 15 assists; finishing -3 with 54 penalty minutes. Guelph made the playoffs after finishing fourth in the Midwest Division. Leslie played in five of six games in the series with Plymouth and was -2 with no points and 4 penalty minutes. Leslie was ranked 204th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings but was not selected in the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Leslie was the second-leading scorer amongst Guelph defensemen trailing only Andrei Pedan (44 points) for the Storm. He scored 12 goals with 28 assists and was +16 with 58 penalty minutes and skated in all 68 games. Guelph finished fourth in the Midwest Division and reached the playoffs. Leslie had 1 assist and was -1 with 4 penalty minutes in the five game series with third-place Kitchener. Ranked 146th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, Leslie was selected by Los Angeles in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Leslie was the second-leading scorer amongst defensemen for OHL champion Guelph in his third OHL season behind overage Leafs’ prospect Matt Finn. Paired at times with fellow Kings’ prospect Nick Ebert on the Storm blueline, Leslie scored 14 goals with 36 assists and was +40 with 39 penalty minutes in 60 regular season games. Guelph finished first in the Midwest Division and rolled through the playoffs, going 16-4 and defeating North Bay in five games in the OHL Finals. Leslie scored 1 goal with 9 assists and was +10 with 22 penalty minutes in 20 OHL playoff games. The Storm won its first three Memorial Cup games before falling to Edmonton, 6-3, in the championship game. Leslie was +2 with 3 assists and 2 penalty minutes in four Memorial Cup games.
Leslie, while not the prototypical offensive defenseman, has used his instincts and ability to read the play to contribute fairly regularly on the scoresheet at the OHL level. Playing on a dominant team in Guelph likely inflates those numbers a bit but Leslie's improvement through his junior career has also been evident. While his physical tools and technical skills don't stand out as compared to other defense prospects, his work ethic is first rate and he has a sharp mind. Leslie sometimes gets himself in trouble trying to do too much and will need to add size and strength to compete at the pro level.
Leslie attended training camp with the Kings as an unsigned free agent and was signed to a three-year entry-level contract by Los Angeles in October 2015. With a deep and experienced defense corps on hand for Kings AHL affiliate Manchester, he was returned to Guelph at the start of the 2014-15 season and is playing an overage season with the Storm. As with most late round picks, Leslie remains a long term project but his progress to this point has been impressive. He is not likely to match the offensive numbers he has put up with Guelph but Leslie's skill set and work ethic suggest he can be an effective lower pairing NHL defenseman one day.