In the latest installment of the “2013 First Rounders: Where are they now?” series, we will take a look at Curtis Lazar. Lazar was pretty highly touted and not surprisingly was around the 15-25 range in most mocks during the 2013 draft season. He did fairly well at the combine and the stage was set.
When and Where was he drafted?
The Ottawa Senators were licking their chops when they saw Lazar was available to them at 17th. The palpable ooooh from the crowd told you everything you needed to know. Bryan Murray was on the clock and the choice was clear.
That is why there was a rush for the 17th pick of the draft either way. The Senators expect Lazar to possibly battle for a position in the bottom six with a strong training camp. He has come a long way in just a year.
For a 19 year old, Curtis Lazar showed much poise and sniper talent in his third year with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. His 41 goals in just 58 games put the league and Ottawa on notice that the now 200 pound Lazar was not to be messed with.
After a great showing in the WHL playoffs, the Senators were even more excited to get the forward into camp. The fact that he can play any forward position is also helpful.
How His Season Went
When a pivot has a 50+ goal projection (if he had played 75 games or more), there’s a pretty good chance he had a great season. Overall, Lazar had 76 points in just 58 games which again tops the 100 point mark if he plays the whole year. His 22 points in 22 pressure packed playoff games were yet another sign that he is ready for the big time.
What Sens fans should notice is that Lazar’s shifty nature now drives all levels nuts. He has a deceptively above average shot and is not afraid to battle for pucks everywhere on the ice. His maturation process is beyond most. There is no level of hockey Lazar seems afraid of any more.
Lazar is likely not headed back to Edmonton and I would be very shocked if he is. Binghamton is more likely with Ottawa becoming an increasing possibility. Just think , that reality could occur with Lazar being on the third line in Ottawa come next month.
Sometimes we do not realize what these players accomplish at such a high level. This video is rather impressive. Enjoy this video thanks to Youtube from last October. Here is Curtis Lazar below.
Thoughts on the Future
Again the Senators may be in on the Connor McDavid sweepstakes depending on who you talk to but they certainly are not acting like it. Lazar could very well be brought up later in the season as well. It is clear that Ottawa needs new blood and players that can god forbid, play a little defense. That might help their bottom line.
The Ottawa organization is quite high on the BC native as scouts were just before the 2013 draft. Here is the thing. Lazar may still add 10-12 pounds of muscle on to his upper and lower body. No one would be shocked. He is already a load to handle and it would not compromise his speed in the least. Now it is quote time.
Thanks to Corey Pronman as this is the only quote needed…period!
Curtis Lazar is a well-rounded forward, with the benefit of having one of the smallest risk factors in this draft (in terms of probability of becoming an NHL player). He is an above-average skater who can flash plus ability in that area. He covers a lot of ice due to his tremendous work ethic, as he is always moving his feet. He can change gears quickly, and he picks up speed well. Despite being a tad undersized, he is a solid, physical player who is good on the forecheck. He is not afraid to drive the net, either. He is one of the best defensive forwards in this draft, and is very good in that area for a player his age.
He takes checks very well, knows how to position himself in his own end, and does not tend to hurt his own team. Similar to the prospects preceding him on this list, there is debate over his offensive ability. I see him as a player with above-average offensive skill, but one scout I talked to said that he is shy in displaying offensive creativity, and that he tends to rely on safe plays. He has solid hands, good instincts, and a very good shot, but his offensive progression will determine what kind of NHL player will be.
There is still one prevailing thought that should ease any and all doubts. Anyone I talked to during the draft and even on radio prospect shows said to a man and woman that Lazar was literally the nicest teammate you could ever ask for on and off the ice and yet he was a ferocious competitor once the game began.
His upside is a top six forward and top nine by later 2014-15 for Ottawa. Do not be surprised when he becomes one of the absolute steals of the 2013 NHL Draft. Then you will know his name is Curtis Lazar.