After recalling defenceman Rasmus Andersson from the Stockton Heat, the Flames have sent their affiliate a replacement body. The team has announced that extra forward Curtis Lazar has been reassigned to the AHL after having cleared waivers on Monday.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) October 5, 2018
Lazar was acquired at trade deadline 2017, picked up from Ottawa with AHLer Michael Kostka in exchange for a 2017 second round pick (Alex Formenton, who is already in the NHL) and Jyrki Jokipakka.
The Flames hoped the 2013 first rounder would buck the issues that were holding him back in Ottawa and blossom into a middle six right winger, but were rewarded with more of the same performances he put up with the Senators.
Despite a hot start with the club, where he picked up three points in his first four games and was rewarded with a two-year contract in the offseason, he struggled through most of 2017-18. He became a permanent feature on the fourth line, picking up 12 points in 65 games last season.
The move doesn’t do much for the NHL roster, as Lazar was already on the outside looking in. With plenty of depth acquired this offseason, he was the odd man out and was unlikely to factor in at either right wing or centre. The Flames generally don’t want their young players sitting in the press box, so the demotion was likely a foregone conclusion.
Perhaps the Flames bring up another forward body, such as Anthony Peluso, Alan Quine, or Buddy Robinson, but we’ll have to wait to see. This also gives them the option of keeping eight defenders on the roster whenever Travis Hamonic gets healthy.
Salary-cap wise, placing Lazar in the AHL and carrying a 22 player roster saves the Flames $5,100 of cap space per day compared to keeping him on the NHL roster. It’s not huge, but cap savings like that can add up over a full season and help the club at the trade deadline.
Lazar will presumably become a top line player for the Stockton Heat. Perhaps the hope is that he can reclaim some of his potential and find some consistency, but at age 23 with 245 NHL games played, one must wonder if it’s too little, too late.