The Flames have made a minor move today, reassigning forward Curtis Lazar back to the AHL after recalling him prior to the trade deadline.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 9, 2019
The right winger was recalled on Feb. 15 after James Neal went down with injury, but despite picking up 36 points in 46 AHL games after being demoted to start the season, Lazar did not factor into any of the Flames’ lineups during the 11 games he was on the roster. He was probably not viewed as a lineup option, but rather insurance in case of a game-time decision.
Lazar was not in danger of losing his 30-day waiver exemption (if the Flames were even afraid of him being claimed on waivers), falling eight days short. There’s probably a few reasons for sending Lazar. The primary one is most likely Neal’s eventual return to the lineup. Although there is no indication that he will play Sunday night against Las Vegas, Neal is skating again. It also likely indicates that Sam Bennett is healthy after a dangerous hit ended his night early in Arizona.
#Flames James Neal is getting closer. He skated today and will skate tomorrow. Bill Peters expects him to be ready for playoffs.
— Derek Wills (@Fan960Wills) March 9, 2019
But that’s only part of the rationale. The other part may be that the team did not feel that Lazar would add an upgrade on anyone in the lineup or scratch any particular itch. Speculating of course, but Bill Peters indicated that the Flames will recall another forward prior to their tilt against the Golden Knights.
James Neal (lower body) has resumed skating on his own. Coach Peters says he’s got a little ways to go before returning.
With Lazar returned to AHL Stockton, Peters says the team will recall a forward prior to tomorrow’s game. #Flames
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) March 9, 2019
Lazar will rejoin a streaking Stockton Heat team, who have won four of their last five games. The Flames still have three recalls remaining between now and the end of the regular season.