2013 NHL Draft Profile: Curtis Lazar

Looking at 2013 NHL Draft Prospect Curtis Lazar.

Curtis Lazar is a centre playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. He has had the benefit of playing for one of the top teams in the WHL and their run to the Memorial Cup last season helped advance his development significantly. While he may have been a potential top 10 pick in other drafts its likely that he will be taken between 15-22 in this years draft. Thats not a knock against his skill but the depth of this draft.

Curtis Lazar isn't a natural playmaker but his skills are far more orientated towards goal scoring. He is fast and strong, despite conflicting reports on his size (The Hockey's Future article has him listed at 6"2 198lbs while the WHL website has him at 6"0 198lbs). Needless to say he looks like he could become a solid two way player with offensive gifts that make him deadly in the opposition end but also the hard working ethic that helps in his own zone.

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.

Will the Stars take him at number 10? Its highly unlikely as there will be players with higher potential still available by the point that the Stars pick. Lazar reminds me a lot of the way that Radek Faksa was portrayed entering the 2012 NHL draft and I think the Stars have enough of those kinds of centre picks, high floor moderate ceiling players, that they should be aiming for someone who has a much higher ceiling than Curtis Lazar with the 10th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Season Team Games Played Goals Assists Points +/- Penalty Minutes
Regular Season
2012-2013 Edmonton Oil Kings 72 38 23 61 25 47
2011-2012 Edmonton Oil Kings 63 20 11 31 15 56
2010-2011 Edmonton Oil Kings 6 0 1 1 2 0
Playoffs
2012-2013 Edmonton Oil Kings 20 9 2 11 3 20
2011-2012 Edmonton Oil Kings 20 8 11 19 9 4
2010-2011 Edmonton Oil Kings 4 1 0 1 -1 0

Heres some further reading, with links to the sources, on Curtis Lazar:

Future Considerations:

The first thing that stands out about Lazar is his skating ability. He's got very impressive acceleration and very good mobility. He gets to his top speed very quickly, and uses that speed to beat defensemen out wide. He's very strong and has great balance that he uses to his advantage. He thinks the game very well, and is often in the right position. He shows a good compete level and the willingness to outwork opponents. Lazar isn't afraid to mix it up with any opponent, even those bigger than him. He possesses impres- sive puck skills, and an ability to make plays at high speeds. He's strong when he drives the net and uses his puck protection skills. He's very efficient with the puck and doesn't try to be overly creative. Lazar uses his smarts to be a solid playmaker. He's not a natural playmaker and isn't overly creative in the offen- sive zone. Lazar has a real natural ability to scoring goals. His shot is one of the best in the entire draft class. He has a very heavy accurate shot and gets it off very quickly. He's very dangerous storming down the wing and releasing an accurate shot in stride. Lazar is also willing to battle down low and in the dirty areas to create a scoring chance.

Hockey's Future

Lazar's development was fast-tracked last year to some degree, as he was a member of the WHL champions at the 2012 Memorial Cup. The Oil Kings are a top contender again this season.

During his rookie campaign, the rambunctious Lazar was able to make his physical presence felt, imposing his frame on opponents with regularity. At 6'2" and 198 pounds this season, he has added weight and muscle. He continues to play a power forward role in Edmonton, where he has tallied 15 times and added 11 assists in 37 games. Lazar is not touted as a point-producing machine at this point, though he will benefit from the opportunity to play with some experienced, high-end offensive contributors in Edmonton.

WHL From Above

Lazar's 31 points in 63 regular season games last year might not blow anyone away. But, you have to look at it in a different light. First of all, it was his first full year in the league. Second of all, he then posted 19 points in 20 playoff games as the Oil Kings won a WHL title. He certainly came on strong in the second half. And that performance might have him ahead of Shinkaruk on some people's lists. He's not quite there on my list yet, but it's definitely close. Lazar is a hard working kid with good size, skating ability and excellent offensive skills. He's shown the ability to play centre, as well as some wing and has also grown to be a very competent defensive player. He plays the game much like NHLer Shane Doan. Also like Doan, Lazar should very well end up as a top 10 pick in the 2013 draft (Doan was taken 7th overall in 1995). The graduation of several highly skilled Oil Kings teammates also means that Lazar will be given more minutes and responsibility next season. Don't be shocked if he takes that ball and runs with it and ends up being taken in the top 3-4 come late June of 2013.

International Scouting Services

Skill:
Very good two-way player with good fire in his game and good offensive capabilities.
Scouting Report:
It's been an up and down season for Lazar in terms of his prospect status. He can be simply dominant and the best player on the ice at times, but he can also fall into long lapses where the offensive potential is nowhere to be found. Even so, he is consistently an effective player, who plays with good determination and high skill. He can grind with players much larger than himself, has very good smooth hands and can shoot the lights out from almost anywhere on the ice. He's not the biggest kid, but he plays without fear or trepidation. The big knock so far has been in high exposure events (such as CHL TP game and Canada U18 evaluation camp) he has looked very average.
2nd/3rd line player with PP potential, could evolve into top line sniper.
Style compares to: Dustin Brown

Curtis Lazar Highlights:

Curtis Lazar 2012-2013 WHL Highlights (via bigwhite06)

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