The other guy in the Hall trade!
SCOC Rating: 7.4
Reader Rating: 6.4
There was a time that Curtis Lazar was the most exciting name in Bruins-related news.
If you remember, it was originally reported that Curtis Lazar was heading from Buffalo to Boston in a trade, and it was floated that Lazar might not be the only Sabre heading to Boston.
It was Lazarmania after that, as we waited a few minutes for confirmation that Taylor Hall would also be coming to Boston.
After that, poor Lazar was the other guy in the Hall trade.
However, his performance with the Bruins gave him some well deserved attention of his own, and he ultimately ended up being a good acquisition for the B’s.
As we’ve discussed in the past, 2021 wasn’t the best year for the Bruins’ fourth line.
Lazar’s arrival added an injection of energy and jam to that unit, giving them new life down the stretch (not all of that can be credited to Lazar, to be fair, but it’s probably not a coincidence).
Like his fourth line pals, Lazar was used in a pretty defensive/checking role, so his possession stats won’t excite the analytics crowd.
However, Lazar also recorded all of his points at even strength, giving the Bruins a boost in an area of need.
Lazar also had 35 hits and six blocked shots in just 17 regular season games, nothing to sneeze at.
Ultimately, Lazar couldn’t really continue his effective play in the playoffs, and he cooled off considerably as the Bruins’ season came to an end: he had an assist in Game 1 vs. Washington, then nothing after that (he also got hurt in the Islanders series).
Lazar also had particularly tough deployments in the playoffs, however, starting a whopping 88% of his shifts in the defensive zone.
It’s fair to ask what makes Lazar’s rating much higher than that of Kuraly, Chris Wagner, etc. and there’s certainly some confirmation bias in the ratings.
But Lazar also put up points at a higher rate than any of them, and also seemed to give the fourth line the kick it needed at the right time.
The upcoming season is a big one for Lazar, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time at season’s end.
How he plays this season will go a long way toward shaping the rest of his NHL career. He’ll have a bit of competition for ice time on that fourth line, but should get an extended look.
Here’s to hoping he can grow into his role a bit more this season, earning himself a decent 2022 pay day in the process.