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Turcotte, Zegras ready to soak in sun, new rivalry

Curtis Zupke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Hockey

VANCOUVER, Canada -- Once the spectacle and the awe of the NHL draft set in, Alex Turcotte could feel the emotion of it.

He was like any other teenager selected Friday, but it really hit home when the Los Angeles Kings picked him fifth overall and he thought of his father, Alfie, a former NHL forward who has guided him every step of the way.

"I think he's just really happy for me and proud, and I think that's the coolest part," Turcotte said. "He's so important to me. He's helped me so much, on and off the ice, and without him, I wouldn't be here. To have him there is just unbelievable. He's always been my biggest fan. For him, this is really important for the rest of my family. It's just such a cool moment."

Turcotte can now focus on starting his NHL journey with U.S. national development squad teammate Trevor Zegras, a fellow forward chosen ninth by the Anaheim Ducks. Both teams kept their first-round picks on a quiet night on the trade front, as the Kings selected defenseman Tobias Bjornfot at No. 22 and the Ducks chose winger Brayden Tracey at No. 29.

Turcotte gives the Kings an impact center considered one of the best two-way players in the draft. He was well aware that he might someday be teammates with Anze Kopitar.

"He's one of the best players in the world, and it's just so cool that being in the same organization as him," Turcotte said. "I can't wait to get started."

 

Turcotte is committed to Wisconsin to play for former Kings forward Tony Granato. His uncle, Jeff, is a coach in the Jr. Kings program and Turcotte has visited Manhattan Beach, among other locales.

"I've been down there the past three summers and I kind of have a feel for it," Turcotte said. "It's definitely a great place to live, and it's pretty cool."

Zegras might someday face off against Turcotte in the rivalry, but "honestly, I can't even think about that," he said. "That's so funny. But I'm so happy for him. He worked so hard. He deserves it.

"It's so awesome. I ran into Alex outside and gave him a big hug. It's so surreal. I couldn't have really thought about this in a million years."

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