The Buffalo Sabres are close to agreeing with unrestricted free agent Curtis Lazar to a one-year deal when the free-agency period opens on Monday, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Lazar did not receive a qualifying offer from Calgary earlier this week, which allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent.
While hardly a blockbuster of a deal, the Sabres hope they can develop the play of Lazar who has struggled to succeed at the professional level. Lazar has always been considered a top prospect since his junior days and was a first-round pick in 2013 by the Ottawa Senators. He was known for his scoring as he tallied 99 goals over his final three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. While he immediately joined the Senators when he went pro, he put up just six goals in each of his first two seasons, finally being sent down to the AHL the following year before Ottawa traded him to Calgary at the trade deadline in 2017. However, Lazar struggled even more after that, scoring three goals over the next season and a half. He played all, but one game, with the Stockton Heat last season.
The Sabres are hoping he can develop into a bottom-line depth option for a cheap price. Considered to be a great locker-room guy, he does possess leadership skills. During the 2015 World Junior Championships, he was captain of Canada’s gold-medal team with Connor McDavid and Sam Reinhart.