Curtis Lazar: Best And Worst Case Scenarios Next Year


Continuing on with the another best/worst case scenario post, today I will be talking about youngster Curtis Lazar. Unlike some of the other players I have done, Lazar hasn’t really proved much in the NHL. He is still a great asset to the team, but it would foolish to say that his rookie season was a success.

Let’s look at how the upcoming 2015-16 season could look for him.


Out of all the players that I have done a best/worst case scenario for, Lazar’s worst reaches the farthest down. Realistically I could see him getting demoted to the AHL for a short time, just so he can adjust his game and become even better once he comes back up. After all, his rookie season included just 6 goals and 9 assists in 67 games after people were expecting (or hoping) for 30-40+ points.

He has the pedigree though, and it’s not like he has no chance of succeeding. Here are his career stats:

His WHL numbers don’t jump off the page, especially in his draft year when he had under a point per game. Still though, he was known as the most likely player in his draft class to be an NHL regular so it’s not like the 20-year old can’t get better.

I have hopes that he will be a solid regular on the team, but right now he isn’t at the level that he needs to be. That’s why a trip to the minors is possible, especially if he struggles early on and Shane Prince and/or Matt Puempel are playing better. There’s nothing to show that he will produce more, so I’d rather be cautiously optimistic because this worst case scenario could come true.

His statistical comparables for last season don’t look too encouraging:

It was just his first season, but we can’t assume that a prospects growth is linear. I do think that Lazar will be a defensively sound player throughout his career, but I’m not sure he will produce too much offensively. In my mind, he will most likely end up being a Mike Fisher with a little less offense.

But for now, there are some concerns. He wasn’t very confident in the offensive zone, and his creativity was lacking throughout the season. With players like Prince, Puempel, and Nick Paul ready or almost ready to be in the NHL, Lazar has some pressure on him. For a worst case scenario, I could see him spending two months in the AHL and putting up 15 points in 60 games. It would be unfair even as a sophomore to expect the world from him.


While the worst case scenario makes it seem like he’s a bad prospect that will never stick in the NHL, there’s also the other side to the story. Like I said before, I do think that he will be a regular although I’m not sure how soon he can elevate his game. He’s just 20 years old but as a mature, smart, and defensively minded forward he could very well improve a lot for next year.

Mar 28, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators center Curtis Lazar (27) celebrates his goal right wing

Erik Condra

(22) and center

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

(44) in the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Senators 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

He spent the end of the season on a line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Erik Condra, and the Ottawa Senators obviously trust him a lot already. Even if he does struggle a bit, he will probably have a long leash. He will have more responsibility this year with the loss of Condra, but he could be up to it.

He has all the skills to be a solid top-nine winger right now, even if he doesn’t put up massive point totals. Just because he wasn’t that great as a rookie, doesn’t mean he can’t improve and score more goals. If he gets the opportunity, he should put up more points. But the team needs to be patient, as the goals won’t come right away.

One thing that should get better next season is his shooting percentage. He had only six goals, but he had a 6.5% shooting percentage. If he can increase his shot totals (which ranked 13th on the team), then we can reasonably expect between 10-15 goals.

It looks like a confidence issue and that will get better with time

Last year his possession numbers were actually a bit better than I expected, as he was 6th on the team in corsi (51%), and tied for 6th in corsi relative (+1.1%). He struggled when without Condra (48.9% corsi), but so did Condra without Lazar (48.4% corsi). The same thing happened with Pageau, as both of them saw their numbers decline a bit but were still above average.

I wouldn’t put too much stock into him being just average in possession, as I really do think he will improve on that. It looks like a confidence issue and that will get better with time.

In 2015-16 Lazar won’t light the world on fire, but he does have some solid upside. I’ll say that his best case scenario is 15 goals and 25 assists (40 points). If he reached those heights, I would be very happy, as he will bring defensive value as well.


I don’t think I’m as high on Lazar as other people are, but I do think he will be with the Senators for a long time. I don’t see the high offensive potential, but 40 points would be very valuable to the Senators. While there’s a chance that he “breaks out,” I can also see him being demoted for a short time. After that, I think he can improve and still finish the season well.

We have to put our expectations lower with him, as he was drafted as a 2nd/3rd line player. Anything over 30 points would be exceptional and I would love that production on the third line.

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