With the No. 17 overall pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators select center Curtis Lazar from Edmonton of the WHL.
Lazar nearly doubled his point total from 31 to 61 this season with the Oil Kings in the Western League. He provided nine goals in 22 games as the Oil Kings went as far as the Western League Final, only to be defeated by Seth Jones and the Portland Winterhawks. His intensity increased in the post-season, as he had 20 penalty minutes in the playoffs, after going through a 72-game season with just 20 PIMs.
ISS ranked Lazar No. 12 among all skaters in this year's draft. He's ranked 20th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, and TSN analyst Craig Button has him ranked No. 32 among all prospects. ISS projects him to be a player similar to Dustin Brown.
He is a little short, standing 5 foot 11 inches and weighs 194 pounds. Lazar's teammates have nicknamed him laser, given his fast shot and last name. "Laser" plays mostly center but is also comfortable at right wing. As stated earlier, Lazar plays for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. He has two full seasons of WHL play under his belt and will likely play another season in the WHL next year. Lazar has impressed the Oil Kings coaching staff enough that he was given an "A" for assistant captain this last season. In his first season in the WHL (2011-12), Lazar put up 31 points. In his second season with the Oil Kings, he almost doubled his output by putting up 38 goals and 23 assists. If he continues to grow like this, he is most likely going to make an NHL roster.
One of his greatest strengths is his skating ability. Not only is he fast but he can get to his top speed very quickly. While many players might need a few extra steps Lazar will be already be at full pelt. His speed, and his willingness to go into the dirty areas of the ice, combine to make him an effective point producer. While he doesn't come close to leading the WHL in scoring, 61 points in 72 games, its still a reasonable points total. It does however indiciate that, despite his shot being one of the better in the draft, that his role at the NHL level is more likely to be a speedy third line centre rather than a high scoring second or first line centre.
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