Good news for Team Canada, and potentially tough news for the rest of the teams at this year’s World Junior tournament.
Having already secured the services of Rangers forward Anthony Duclair, Canada learned on Thursday that Ottawa would release Curtis Lazar — its first-round pick (17th overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — for this year’s tournament, to be played in Toronto and Montreal from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
Lazar, 19, made the Sens after a strong training camp and exhibition season, and has played well in his rookie campaign. The former WHL Edmonton standout has one goal and seven points through 27 games this year but has seen his ice time dip recently — in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over New Jersey, he played a season-low 8:30 (under new head coach Dave Cameron, it must be noted.)
Regardless, this is a big get for Canada.
Lazar was a standout at last year’s tourney, finishing with seven points in seven games. A physical center that can score goals — he had 41 in his last year of junior — Lazar will bolster a team that’s already deep down the middle with the likes of Sam Reinhart and Connor McDavid in the mix.