66Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts – On Lazar, Brouwer and the virtue of patience

Predicting performance in the NHL is hard.

Every signing, every trade, every draft pick is a gamble that will likely play out over a number of years. The interplay of risk, cost and reward impacts decisions on what players to acquire, what prospects to develop, and what veterans to sign (or get rid of).

That’s why I want to talk about Curtis Lazar, Mikael Backlund and Troy Brouwer.

Let’s get right to it. Here’s why I don’t much like the Curtis Lazar gamble:

– Lazar’s junior performance isn’t particularly striking (aside from his WJC performance). His best NHLe (NHL equivalence) in the WHL was 29, putting his probability of being a bust around 75% according to the Projection Project. That’s no better than the run-of-the-mill second or third rounder.

– Lazar’s performance at the pro level gives us enough information that we can more confidently assume he has a low NHL ceiling. He has no good results at 22 years old, not even in terms of underlying numbers (shots for, shots against, chances, etc. It’s all pretty bad). That means he has to improve drastically just to be a third liner in the NHL, let alone a useful third liner. As such, the chances of Lazar becoming an above average NHLer is probably smaller than an unknown second round pick: whereas a second rounder becoming a star is slim, the chances of Lazar becoming one (given what we know about him at this point) is pretty much nill.

– My final problem with the Lazar trade is he most likely projects to be a replacement level (or worse) player. Guys are called “replacement level” because they can be easily replaced from the minor ranks, gratis. Heck, the Flames have walked away or waived (probably) better players than Lazar over the last few years (Kenny Agostino and Paul Byron come to mind.)

That’s not me trying to re-open old wounds, it just shows how often fringe-ish NHL guys are available for next to nothing. Meaning, you often don’t have to move assets of notable value to get reclamation projects of this nature.

– In fact, I’m guessing part of the reason the Senators traded Lazar now was his expired waiver exemption and the impending possibility of losing him on the wire. That’s something the Flames will have to negotiate moving forward, which is not insignificant given Lazar’s rough season. If he can’t make the team as regular NHLer next year, the club will have to keep him around or try to sneak him through to the Stockton Heat. That means there’s a possibility the org ends up paying a second rounder for half a season of a reclamation project.

– So where’s the upside here? Essentially the Flames are hoping that Lazar is much better than what he’s shown so far. Not only was he rushed to the show as a teenager, his most recent developmental season was derailed by mono and a falling out with his draft team. The Flames are not only betting that those factors undermined his performance to date, masking his true value, but that they can rebuild the player back up.

– Brian Burke had an interesting bit on the FAN960 the other day. He noted Mikael Backlund seemed like an expendable player when he arrived in Calgary and that Mickis’ current season proves that sometimes you need to wait on a player in order to understand his value. He mentioned Anton Stralman as another example.

I think the lesson is actually a bit more nuanced than simply “wait it out.” There are plenty of players in the NHL who will never get better or prove to be secretly valuable no matter how long you wait. The real trick is to identify the guys worth waiting for.

In terms of Backlund and Stralman, the math liked both guys long before most fans or conventional hockey people did. If you can leverage data to find guys who drive play and out-chance the opposition, that’s when you can be confidently patient. Otherwise, you can waste a lot of years and contracts randomly guessing about which kids to bank on and which are simply running in place.

– Yes, the first two topics of this article are tangentially related. Lazar’s pedigree suggests patience is warranted, but his results from all angles are underwhelming. If he doesn’t show something drastic and soon, it won’t make sense to wait on him for another few years. Backlund, in contrast, consistently showed better than average shot and chance numbers. Which is why I have been arguing in his favour for years.

– Change of topic! The current hot streak is great, but the Flames are probably still a middling team at this point in the rebuild. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just that they aren’t really Stanley Cup contenders just yet. The third line still needs an improvement, the bottom pairing can be exploited and the Monahan/Gaudreau line still needs the high ground and favourable circumstances in order to flourish.

Again, this is not a condemnation of the team. It’s noting the reality of the situation, which has tactical implications for the rest of the year and strategic implications in the offseason.

– Speaking of which, it is clear the team has to expose Troy Brouwer in the upcoming expansion draft. The Brouwer contract was a bad bet to begin with and it has already started going south.

That may actually be a blessing in disguise. A good year – or even mediocre year – may have convinced the decision makers to hang on. But with a season this lousy, it should push them to play their get out of jail free card.

– Let’s be clear: Brouwer’s season has been lousy. He’s on pace for 29 points over 82 games, despite ample even strength and PP ice time. That’s not the worst part, however: Brouwer tends to get completely outshot and out-chanced when he’s on the ice. In fact, anyone playing with Brouwer gets outplayed.

Data Rink has a handy table that illustrates the Brouwer effect:

Troy Brouwer WOWY

Yeesh. This is simple to interpret. The far right column shows how much each guy’s possession rate improves when they are away from Brouwer. None of the improvements listed are trivial.

– Just to hammer things home – Brouwer has the worst relative corsi of any regular Flame skater this year outside of Jyrki Jokipakka and is bottom three amongst regular forwards in terms of XGF% (expected goals) and SCF% (scoring chances). There’s almost no redeeming angle to Brouwer’s performance this year.

– This is of acute concern because the NHL under a salary cap is an efficiency contest. The more efficiently a GM can spend his money, the better the team he can put on the ice. This summer, Brad Treliving has to re-sign Micheal Ferland, Curtis Lazar, Alex Chaisson, and Sam Bennett as well as two goalies, at least three defenders, and a replacement for Kris Versteeg (if not Versteeg himself).

That’s a tall order with the club’s current available cap space. An added $4.5M would do wonders for Treliving’s summer budget.

– Of course, if the team decides to go the expansion route with Brouwer, they’ll have to ensure that Las Vegas is going to take him. It would make for a fairly awkward relationship between player and team if he’s exposed but passed over.

  • Longshot1977

    “Of course, if the team decides to go the expansion route with Brouwer, they’ll have to ensure that Las Vegas is going to take him. It would make for a fairly awkward relationship between player and team if he’s exposed but passed over.”

    I’m not sure if I care how awkward the relationship is between the Flames and Brouwer. It’s not like his performance can get any worse, right? I’d expose him regardless of risk. Hopefully, the Knights just take him and we’re done with the whole thing. If not, maybe it sends a pretty clear message to Brouwer about his play relative to his contract.

    • al rain

      I agree with Kent that this is a concern. Teams try like hell to avoid salary arbitration for the same reason. I would say don’t underestimate the importance of a functional, even happy locker room. Remember when Dutter nickeled and dimed Ian White for $5? Litterally $5! Jerk.

      But Treliving isn’t Dutter and I fully expect he and Vegas would have an understanding before Brouwer was exposed.

    • Brodano12

      Teams do not have to announce their protection lists. If we expose Brouwer, the only way he would know is if we told him or if he is picked by Vegas. His contract having 3 years (not too long) and 4.5 million (not too much) makes it very desirable for a team that will have a ton of young and cost controlled players and needs to hit the cap floor starting in 2018/2019, and needs a good locker room guy and leader.

      However, if Brouwer steps it up in the playoffs like he’s known to do, do we still expose him? I’m inclined to say yes unless his performance is outstanding, because his regular season performance has just been ridiculously underwhelming.

      • Longshot1977

        Troy Brouwer NHL Career PPG in Regular Season = 0.47
        Troy Brouwer NHL Career PPG in Playoffs = 0.33

        How does this guy have a good reputation for playoff performances?

        • King Quong

          There’s a defensive / physical side to be added into his playoff reputation, just like Ferland vs the canucks recently. Ferland didn’t put up a lot of points but he made sure the other team was off their games.

          • Ari Yanover

            Ferland put up four points against the Canucks, though three of them were grouped in that pivotal game six (and it was his goal that started the comeback). Brouwer has played in seven playoffs and he’s outscored Ferland twice.

          • King Quong

            If I remember right Ferlands only point besides the game 6 game was an assist on David Jones goal in game 1, inbetween that game and game 6 Ferland gained a reputation real quick without scoring, I’m not saying I’d rather have Brouwer than Ferland just pointing out there’s other ways to contribute to the team and endear yourself to fans without scoring. Personally I’d rather have both that’s why we all loved Iggy and its what I hope Bennett will become a goal scorer with the rough stuff as well.

        • flamesburn89

          No idea lol. He rode shotgun on a ridiculously talent Hawks team in 2010, but was held pointless in the next season in their series. Apart from a decent 2010 playoffs with the Hawks and last season where he shot the lights out for St.Louis, his playoff numbers are pretty ugly.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Here’s hoping that the Flames need to protect Lazar from expansion, necessitates a Brouwer exposure.
    Question: if Lazar starts in Stockton next year, does he have to clear waivers first?

    • Guest

      Yes he has to clear.

      Any guesses on his contract this summer? I think thats an important one. Calgary had better sign him super cheap to justify the pick. I am really worried someone throws him a large offer and Burke will match it just not to be embarrassed to send a second round pick to sit a kid 10-18 games at the end of the season.

      • piscera.infada

        There is a waiver exempt period just prior to the start of the season. So yes, he could conceivably start next season in Stockton without needing waivers, then be re-called, only requiring waivers if he were sent back down (which would probably prove the end of the experiment anyway).

    • Nick24

      No. As long as he’s assigned before the waiver period starts he wouldn’t be exposed. However, if he started the season with the Flames and he was to be sent down, he would be required to go through waivers.

  • Guest

    Lazar makes it inevitable Brouwer gets exposed, so there is that. Ferland is obviously getting protected, Ferland is going to score 20+ multiple times in this league assuming he stays healthy.

    I listened to both Burke interviews yesterday and it reinforced several things to me:

    1. Burke loves size – Bollig, Bouwma, Brouwer are on him. Engelland too, though that hasn’t been as bad. It also plays a role in Byron and I believe Lazar. He went out of the way to say Lazar is big and can fight.
    2. He has a pre-determined biased against European players and said as much. “they need more time to develop” and more “patience”. I think that comment is ridiculous – Detroit for the last 25 years is a perfect example. But also Granlund and Baertchi getting pushed out of town – with minimal patience. Sigh
    3. Treliving has to run everything past Burke. Burke explicitly said Treliving had to ask him to keep Tkachuk up.

    Treliving, will always be the fall guy if things go sour, but I hope behind the scenes Treliving gets more authority on personnel going forward. Burke is antiquated in these opinions.

    • Burnward

      Granlund I was down with sticking around. Most loved the trade at the time though. As for Sven, he was pretty darn high on himself too quick. That ship needed to sail. Andersson was a nice goodbye present there.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          I think the jury is still out on Sven and Granland. They have both had respectable seasons but we have not seen how their games translate into playoff type games. I think this is why Burke cut them loose. He did not see them as players that he could win him a championship…. Whereas he sees this in Bennett and Lazar despite the lack of offense in these players.

      • piscera.infada

        The problem with Granlund seems to be the organisation’s reluctance to move him from centre–dating back to Feaster. I’m still not sure if what we’re seeing this season is the real Granlund though. He’s still not very good defensively, despite what you typically hear coming out of Vancouver. He’s also got a reasonable bump in production playing with the Sedins.

        I will agree about Burke though. I heard that, and cringed. I’m starting to worry if that’s the Treliving hang-up here. Perhaps he doesn’t want to have to answer to Burke as much as he does–Burke definitely made it sound as though he’s ‘kiboshed’ a few deals.

    • Kevin R

      See , here is the issue with this type of dialogue:
      1. If Lazar is so awful, why would we be worried about someone picking him off waivers. Sorry, I just don’t this argument. If he is worth picking off waivers then he was worth the 2nd rounder & someone else outplayed him for the position. That is a good thing.
      2. Patience!! Man, on the one hand Kent is saying Lazar isn’t worth the patience & a waste of a 2nd rounder, so lets trash this decision. Then the pile on complains about the lack of patience with the like of Baert & Granlund, so lets pile on some more. Sure glad I’m not a GM in the NHL, you can’t win no how.

      Lets not just stop at Backlund & argue his underlying stats were good & that’s why in those cases you be patient. How about Justin Schultze? His underlying numbers were horrible, I saw pieces on Oiler Nation when they wanted to run the guy out of town how bad they were. Look at him now, won a Cup & is the next most important piece on that Penguin blue line.
      I read on FN where Granlunds underlying numbers sucked, similar to Lazar, was a great trade for Shink, right? Now we complain.

      Hopefully we keep this going & make the playoffs, I’ll reserve my judgement on Brouwer after the playoffs.

      • Guest

        There are always exceptions, just not many of them. GM is a brutal job, but my opinion is cap management is critical. You can’t afford to have any bad contracts if you want to be a top five team.

        More to the point, this site has been getting it right on players for years at a very high percentage. The analysis is well reasoned, thoughtful and not biased. I think everyone HOPES Lazar and Brouwer are good. Its exceedingly unlikely they both will be however. For 18.0mm and a 2nd round pick plus whatever Lazar signs for, its an expensive bet.

        • piscera.infada

          I think the first part of that comment oversells it a bit. There are “bad contracts” on basically every team in the league. That becomes exacerbated by players who make $10-, $11-, $12-million per year (see Chicago). But bad contracts don’t inherently destroy a team’s cup aspirations.

          Now that’s not to say “sign bad contracts”. Obviously the goal is to have none on the roster. For that reason, I agree with the totality your comment. “No bad contracts” though, isn’t reality in professional sports. You really have to limit them, because any contract can conceivably (by my logic) turn in to a bad contract at any time.

          • Guest

            Correct. I should have defined bad contract as someone paid well over league minimum that basically isn’t playable, not the salary is greater than the value. I’m not down on Brouwer as most, but what he brings appears replaceable at league minimum.

          • Guest

            I’d probably add that the process matters. To avoid bad contracts its makes sense to be rigorous in signing a player to a deal he is more likely than not to outperform. When a team makes a play for a Brouwer that quite clearly looks to have more downside than upside from the beginning – its so frustrating. In the Brouwer case, the right wing and “size/character” were supposedly a need and that was used as justification.

            I guess thats my objection to the Lazar deal. It clearly looks like an overpay, though its a smaller deal than Brouwer. Its bad process, rather than Lazar himself. Here’s hoping he makes me look like an idiot.

          • piscera.infada

            For some reason, I can’t directly reply to your comment. I agree regarding Brouwer. I do think that sometimes organisations can’t be overly rigorous in this regard though.

            I’d say in the case of free agents (like Brouwer) there’s a marketplace one needs to be mindful of. It’s very easy to look back and say “overpay”, but it’s difficult to really gauge what the actual internal-NHL market is for a player at the time of free agency. Now, teams definitely need to be pragmatic in this regard, but it’s also a little bit shortsighted to say writ-large “don’t go free agent hunting”. I would definitely argue (and I did at the time of the signing) that Brouwer is a good example of (as you state) organisations needing to be more pragmatic about whom and what they sign. The Brouwer narrative sounded good specifically for the reasons you state, but those of us who didn’t like the contract, didn’t because the empirical data showed that the narratives were largely baseless. So yeah, that was a bad contract all-around.

            I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment of the Lazar acquisition though–although I do agree of the assessment of the player. First, I’m not sure I inherently agree with a second-round pick being a clear “overpay”. I mean, there are just too many factors with regard to a second-round pick, that it’s nearly impossible to gauge one way, or the other–not only would the pick have to be made, it would have to be made correctly, then that player would have to be developed correctly. Second, I do firmly believe that risks need to be taken as a function of what was discussed above. You need to find a way to acquire players who can play, and can remain cheap. It’s clear that the Flames pro and amateur scouts, as well as their front office “hockey people” see something there. For my money, it’s a bad bet. I probably wouldn’t have done it. But, I’m not going to sit here and pretend it’s some sort of franchise-altering mistake (not saying you are, for the record).

      • McRib

        Kent was mostly talking about underlying numbers in junior before turning pro. Justin Schultz’s numbers in the NCAA were Hobey Baker/future NHL Star caliber. Lazar on the other hand never had more than 76 POINTS in the WHL playing top line minutes with a ton of opportunity. Lazar has NEVER led a team in scoring, in his NHL Draft +1 he was out scored by Henrik Samuelsson another first round bust.

        Look at Justin Schultz’s numbers in the AHL… He set all time records for someone his age and position, Curtis Lazar’s 0.31 PPG in the AHL this season wouldn’t even make him a Top. 6 offensive producer on this years Stockton team. Ryan Lomberg a Free agent signee who played in the ECHL last year has 0.33 PPG this season.

        • dontcryWOLF88

          McRib, please for the love of logic, stop citing Lazars 13 games in the AHL while he was recovering from mono as a statistical base for why you think everybody should think he sucks.

      • flamesburn89

        Just wondering, why does Brouwer get this special treatment where he doesn’t get judged until he’s had his magical opportunity at redemption in the playoffs? If we’re judging players like JG, Gio, Backlund, Hamilton, Elliot, Ferland, right now based on their current performance, why does Brouwer get a free pass?

    • Avalain

      Ok so I agree with what you’re saying in general. But I think that Detroit is a poster child for showing that Europeans need more time to develop and require patience. Not that I think that’s true, but Detroit is all about taking a long time on their prospects.

    • Craigster

      You also have to consider the depth and needs of those trades at the time. Granlund is a centre and Baertschi is a LW. At the time, we felt like there was lots of depth for those positions, and a need for a Dman (Hamilton) and Right Winger (Shinkaruk).

  • everton fc

    Read yesterday that Versteeg really wants to stay here. This is his first and preferred choice, once free agency begins. He wants to be near family. He likes the make-up of the team, the organization as a whole. So he’ll be looking for term, and I think he can’t hurt us for 3 years. If anything, if signed for the right price, he can be a very adequate 3rd/4thline option who can move up the chart if injuries happen. And they always do. I think both Versteeg and Stone will be re-signed when the expansion draft is over and done. Both want to be here, and this is now a young, winning organization with a young coach, going in the right direction (we are 32-15- 3 since November 11th). I like the fact we are seeing some stability here, in terms of our roster. The great teams didn’t/don’t shuffle deck chairs too often.

    Brouwer has to be exposed. He deserves it. He’s a risk. A fiscal liability. He won’t play to his salary here. He’s a 3rd line winger, at best, perhaps on his downhill slide. He’s a pro. He’s hasn’t produced. It’s business. He’ll be exposed.

    And if they expose Lazar, I don’t see Vegas claiming him, which may mean, strategically, Lazar sees little ice time here until after the draft. I would think a guy like Kulak, or even Stajan, would garner more interest from Vegas than Lazar. (Funny how no one is to concerned with us losing Shinkaruk anymore to expansion, due to his somewhat dismal season in Stockton). I hope BT can spin something to keep Vegas away from Kulak, who I see as a 4-6 defender here for many years. He’s a steady, calm, confident defender. I like his game a lot. Not sure what side Andersson plays, or if he’s paired w/Kulak right now in Stockton… But that would be an interesting pairing.

    Bennett will be re-signed, but not for super-star dollars. He hasn’t proven yet he’s a “super-star”. Ferland should get 3-4 years – I see him as a core player here. I’d definitely sign him for term. The Lazar deal won’t get BT fired – this season will have BT re-signed for big bucks, long term. But it could backfire if Lazar is no better than, say, Chiasson or Bouma. Or at worst, another Shinkaruk. Still, I trust BT and BB did their due diligence, and found a prospect with a lot of upside. If anything, if he turns out to be no better than Chiasson, so be it. Could be worse…

    Having Versteeg on a 3rd line next season will be quite a coup. I like him w/Bennett, but if Jankowski’s ready, I like Bennett-Jankowski-Versteeg as a third line. Hathaway should be 4th line/RW when the puck drops for 2017-18. Maybe Klimchuk can play LW with Stajan in the pivot, if he’s not chosen by Vegas (hope not). I wonder if Klimchuk plays with Hathaway at the moment? I think he’s with Vey and Jankowski – Vey on RW, I assume….

    While I think Chiasson has value, as a 4th liner and can step in when and where needed when injuries hit… I like Hathaway’s game, and think he can produce the same amount of offence as Chiasson. Maybe more.

    As for slow development… Backlund… Ferland… Both took time. Lazar may be similar. Some of the guys on the farm seem to be back-tracking. And I wished we could have kept Granlund. Alas…

    I’m not critical of the Lazar move. Yet! 😉

  • Backburner

    I know Lazar by reputation, but have never seen him play. I know he has some speed, and can fight as Burkie said, but at this point if his upside turns out to be 2014-2015 Lance Bouma, I’ll be happy.

  • cjc

    I’m curious as to whether a deal could be done for Brouwer post-playoffs, even with salary retained. Brouwer has a limited NTC – he can specify 15 teams that he will not be traded to. I see Calgary looking to move his contract first, maybe even taking a toxic contract with shorter term in return. That’s better asset management than just letting Brouwer go to Vegas for nothing. Calgary doesn’t have much to offer Vegas to guarantee Brouwer’s selection – they’re already missing their second and third round picks, and it will take more than Shinkaruk/Poirier. Maybe both?

    • Avalain

      Is it better? Remember that we’re going to lose someone to Vegas regardless. So if you’re trading toxic contracts around to get rid of Brouwer, remember that whoever you get will need to be protected and we’ll still end up losing someone.

      • cjc

        Well, I was working from the assumption that Brouwer wouldn’t be protected; nor would any contract that Calgary received in a trade. To be clear, I don’t think a straight up swap of toxic contracts would make sense, and the trading partner would hopefully see value in Brouwer (and be willing to exchange a pick in return).

  • Feaster Famine

    I think Treliving has had those conversation with McPhee already – otherwise they wouldn’t have made the trade for Lazar. Hopefully the draft pick compensation Calgary gives up isn’t too high for it though.

  • reidja

    The link I tried to post did not go up, so here is a passage from a 2015 article looking back on Lazar’s rookie season which (optimistically, granted) compared him to Patrice Bergeron’s trajectory:

    “In his first season, Lazar has already demonstrated that he can keep up with the speed of the NHL game, has the work rate and tenacity to play bottom line minutes, and that he can maintain positive possession numbers (50.8 SAT%) while also improving those who play with him (1.1 SAT Rel%).”

    The Backlund comparison is also apt, driving possession at the NHL level takes time to learn and positive early results shouldn’t be overlooked Kent.

  • The Doctor

    Because of the Lazar chatter, a few days ago I did some reading up on mono. While he may be a bust, don’t discount the mono bout as a serious factor in his struggles the last couple of years. Mono is a serious situation for anybody, never mind a young guy trying to establish himself in the top pro hockey league in the planet.

  • Parallex

    I wouldn’t call it a “tall order” I mean… I don’t think those guys are going to command raises (on top of the salary they currently make) in excess of the 8.5M coming off the books from Engellend & Wideman. Ferland and Bennett are the only ones that look set to get meaningful raises (and they’ll just get bridge deals). Lazar should basically just get a qualifying offer and Chiasson won’t be qualified (Arbitration) and as a 4th line guy is easy to replace for near league min. So really it’s just a matter of getting a D and a G signed with the remaining freed space. It’ll be tight (we’ll be a cap team again) but not a tall order unless the team wants to go whale hunting in Free Agency (which they shouldn’t given the “quality” of the free agent class.

  • Jessemadnote

    Just curious: would you guys have given up a 2nd round pick for a 20 year old Nino Neiderreiter?

    55 games played 1 goal 0 assists Corsi 46%

    Another argument. This season Curtis Lazar’s two most common linemates by over 70% of his icetime were Chris Kelly and Chris Neil a pair of noted slow footed 37 year old enforcers, in today’s NHL.

    I’m not saying Lazar is a sure thing but tell me honestly: how do you think Monahan or Bennett would do with Neil and Kelly for 8 minutes a night?

    • piscera.infada

      In fairness, Neidereitter had a much better track record in the AHL–albeit in a much larger sample size, and not immediately after dealing with Mono. I get what you’re saying, their numbers in junior were pretty much the same, although Neidereitter had a higher draft pedigree. I would just say that Nino appears to be somewhat of an exceptional case.

      The point definitely has merit though.

    • Parallex

      I would counter that by asking you how bad you think Monahan or Bennett would have to be in order to get stuck with Neil and Kelly for 8 minutes a night?

      If your gonna use that as an excuse for his poor performance then you really need to have an answer as to why they (Ottawa) would do that beyond “Reasons”. I mean, what’s more likely… “NHL coach puts premium talent on a line with goons for 8 minutes per night” or “NHL coach puts guy on a line of goons for 8 minutes per night because that’s where his play justifies putting him”? I would propose that the second statement makes more sense.

      • Jessemadnote

        Ya but it’s a vicious cycle. We were all here when Backlund got stuck with Kostopolous and Jackman. He just couldn’t play his way up the lineup no matter what he did.

        Now I would not say that Lazar has had a good season by any stretch or is anywhere near Backlund but I’m saying his atrocious numbers are extremely exaggerated.

        • Parallex

          Yeah… but the underlaying numbers showed that the coach was making an error with Backlund. With Lazar the numbers are basically saying that he (Boucher) was making the right call.

          • Parallex

            Sure… good thing the person who made that call is way back in Ottaw… oh wait it was Dave Cameron. That bodes well. (to clarify though he would have had to have gone back to the CHL… wasn’t eligible to go to the AHL until this year and by then his waiver exempt status had expired).

            Boucher is the coach there now and Lazar isn’t waiver exempt. He played with bad linemates and only got limited minutes, this is true but all the numbers say that was the right call.

      • canadian1967

        I seem to recall Backlund playing on the 4th line with McGratton and Westgarth when he was 23. I wonder what HIS numbers look like in the EXACT same situation as Lazar was in.