Flames see ‘significant upside’ in Lazar

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In trading for Curtis Lazar, the Calgary Flames made a commitment to a 22-year-old forward with just one assist in 33 NHL games this season.

But according to Flames GM Brad Treliving, it’s a commitment the team is excited to make.

“We’re not making this bet based on what he’s doing today. We think there is significant upside,” Treliving said, per the Calgary Herald. “He fits right in with our age group. He’s got a lot of work to do to get to the level we want him to and he’s committed to doing that.”

The Flames surrendered a second-round draft pick, as well as defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, to get Lazar out of Ottawa. The hope is that the former first-round pick can use the fresh start to get his career back on track.

“I’m looking forward to that chance where I can clear my conscience and play with some confidence again instead of just being in full-on survival mode,” said Lazar, who missed training camp due to mononucleosis and then saw his ice time under coach Guy Boucher fall to an average of 8:49.

Calgary already has a number of feisty forwards in Matthew Tkachuk, Troy Brouwer, Micheal Ferland, and Lance Bouma. And remember, when Treliving took the job in 2014, it was a goal of his to make the Flames bigger and tougher.

If Lazar pans out, they’ll become even harder to play against.

“He’s got some piss and vinegar to him,” said Treliving, “and I don’t think that’s bad to add to our group.”