When he was drafted 17th overall in 2013 by the Ottawa Senators, Curtis Lazar had no idea the path that his career would travel. Since draft night, its been a bumpy and uneven path to say the least. On Wednesday he found himself leaving the only NHL team he had known, and on the way to a new home.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 2, 2017
Curtis Lazar Gets Second Chance with Calgary Flames
Lazar was traded along with defenceman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames for defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second round draft choice in 2017. For Lazar, he’s the centerpiece of the trade for Calgary. To say that his career needs a jump-start would be an understatement.
After having a good training camp for Ottawa in 2014-2015, he was named to the opening night roster. It was there that the signs of struggle began. Lazar didn’t record his first NHL goal until December 15, 2014. He was then loaned to Team Canada for the 2015 World Junior Championships. He would serve as captain of the team and record nine points (five goals, assists assists in seven games) en-route to a gold medal win.
Despite the strong showing at the WJHC, Lazar’s struggles at the NHL level continued. He finished the year with just 15 points. He also did not pick in Ottawa’s six game defeat in the first round of the playoffs. Last year saw a five point improvement in his production, but it was becoming clear that Ottawa had other plans for him.
Change of Scenery
He needed a change of scenery, and Senators general manager Pierre Dorion gave it to him. When speaking to the Canadian Press Dorion said, “We all saw that it wasn’t working out with Curtis this year. We just felt that (it was) giving him a fresh start, new opportunity and at the same time we were looking to improve our defensive depth and adding a high pick in this draft.”
With the trade to Calgary, it gives Lazar a second chance. A chance to prove that he can be an effective and regular NHLer. And when looking at the roster the Flames have, he should be able to fit right in. He is a skilled and versatile forward. His two-way play gives head coach Glen Gulutzan options to insert him anywhere in the lineup.
By the sounds of it Lazar is excited for the move to the Flames. Lazar said:
“You look at the possibility and the future I can have with the Flames and I couldn’t be more excited to get there and start my adventure in Calgary,I like the young core of players they have. I want to go there and try and complement that group. They’re in a dogfight for the playoffs right now. I think I can help out and hopefully I can do that and help them make the post-season.”
Beyond excited for a fresh start with the @NHLFlames can't wait to hit the ice and have some fun! See you all shortly🔥🔥🔥
— Curtis Lazar (@CurtisLazar95) March 2, 2017
The trade also reunites Lazar with a familiar face. Dave Cameron was the Senators head coach during Lazar’s rookie season, and is now serving as Gulutzan’s assistant in Calgary. General manager Brad Treliving also likes what he see’s from the Salmon Arm, B.C. native.
"He really fits into our age group." – Brad Treliving on Curtis Lazar pic.twitter.com/XKTUJPCUbG
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 1, 2017
Right now the Flames hold down the first wildcard spot in the Western Conference. Adding both Lazar and Kostka is a depth move buy the club, however Lazar is still young with plenty of upside. That said, he needs to take the second chance he’s been given and really show that he can elevate his game.