Ottawa Senators 2013 first round draft pick Curtis Lazar has it all. Dogged determination, strong work ethic, a good all around game and great hockey sense. He has top-notch skills and will be a mainstay on the Ottawa Senators roster, as a top 9 forward before too long.
However, despite Bryan Murray going on the radio this week and saying they will evaluate Lazar and hope he competes for a roster spot, in reality that is little more than lip service to boost the young man’s spirits. With the contract situations already making decisions very difficult, and the fact that Lazar has been out with injury and not able to compete in any preseason games, the forward is surely ticketed for the long bus rides of the WHL for another season.
And that is definitely not a bad thing.
When he eventually gets word he is going back to the Edmonton Oil Kings, he will do so having signed his entry level deal and will be in a situation where he should be a key component of Canada’s World Junior team, because he is the type of player coach Brett Sutter relishes. Another year of development and the ability to dominate at the junior level will only increase his confidence, not that he is lacking in that area.
The Senators are not in a situation like, say, the Calgary Flames, who will be under a lot of pressure to keep Sean Monahan in the NHL because there are not many other options. Keeping Lazar, even for a few games, would force the Senators to expose another player to waivers to make room on the roster. Lazar doesn’t need to be in the plans for this season in Ottawa, and such should get him back to the Oil Kings as soon as he is healthy enough to resume his WHL dominance.
Is Lazar good enough to play in the NHL this season? Maybe. Will he play in the NHL this season? Not likely, because the Senators can’t take the chance of losing multiple assets through waivers to give him even that few games of experience.
Hopefully he can recover from the undisclosed nagging injury enough to get into an exhibition game before he returns to the “dub”.