The Buffalo Sabres have signed a pair of depth forwards, inking Curtis Lazar and Jean-Sebastien Dea. Both players will carry a $700K salary, though Dea received a two-year deal while Lazar is under contract for just a single season.
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.
Dea is another project as the undrafted free-agent from Pittsburgh was always considered to be a talented player, but he could never thrive at the NHL level, eventually getting claimed by the New Jersey Devils at the start of the year, but they couldn’t get enough out of him and were forced to place him on waivers, allowing Pittsburgh to bring him back. The Penguins eventually sent him to Florida at this year’s trade deadline, but he just played in the AHL. He played 23 games between Pittsburgh and New Jersey, but tallied just four goals and six points. He did, however, notch 18 goals between two different AHL teams last season, including 11 goals and 22 points in 20 games.