With the trade deadline quickly approaching, we will be profiling several players in the weeks ahead that are likely to be dealt by March 1st.
When the Ottawa Senators selected Curtis Lazar 17th overall in 2013, there were high hopes for the center out of the WHL. He lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup, scoring 169 points in 199 games in the WHL. Lazar also captained Team Canada to the 2015 World Junior Championships (nine points in seven games) during a break in his NHL rookie season.
Unfortunately for Lazar and the Senators, it hasn’t been an easy transition to the NHL. In 2015-16, Lazar scored 20 points, which represents his current career-high. Because of his slow development, the Senators could look to move Lazar to give him a fresh start.
Lazar is a pending RFA, following his entry-level contract. His AAV is $895K.
It’s been a trying year for Lazar. He started the season in the AHL after battling mononucleosis late in the summer. After 13 games with the Binghamton Senators, where he scored four points, he was recalled to the big club. Stuck on the fourth line, he has just one assist in 27 NHL games this season. His most common linemates are aging veterans Chris Kelly and Chris Neil. While the former first-round pick Lazar is expected to drive a line against weaker competition, Neil and Kelly aren’t exactly known for their offensive abilities, even at the peak of their careers.
27 games: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point. 39.7 CF%, -6, 8:22 ATOI.
It’s unlikely that any playoff contenders will be interested in adding a one-assist fourth liner, but some tweener-teams could look to add Lazar with the hopes that a fresh start re-boots his career. The Islanders, Hurricanes, Lightning, Sabres, Devils, Flames, and Canucks are mid-range teams who could look to add a young player with solid potential.
The Lightning could use a young and cheap forward going into next year, after what is sure to be a tough summer. The Islanders, Hurricanes, and Sabres are all building teams who could use a young forward with potential. The Devils, Flames, and Canucks desperately need offence to take strides forward.
The Oilers could be a wildcard team in the Lazar sweepstakes, as he impressed during his time with the Oil Kings and there are former Oil Kings management members in the Oilers front office. Could the Senators look to acquire a different Oil King alum/ first-round pick looking for a fresh start in Griffin Reinhart?
Likelihood Of A Trade
Because of Lazar’s minimal impact on the Senators this season, it’s not impossible that Pierre Dorion would take a long look at trading the former first rounder, especially if the trade would benefit his team this season. Lazar is eligible to be selected by Vegas in this summer’s expansion draft, meaning the Senators will likely have to decide between Lazar, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Ryan Dzingel. Because Lazar has the highest pedigree, he would likely get the most in a trade. The Senators could trade Lazar and recoup at least a second round or equivalent asset, avoiding losing him for nothing to Vegas.