Prospecting with Pronman: Talks Lazar

ESPN’s Corey Pronman revisited (note: paywall) a number of his prospect evaluations and shed some light on a number of prospects who have exceeded his expectations this season.

One of those prospects was the Senators’ Curtis Lazar – a player who Pronman had ranked outside his top 100 drafted prospects list in the offseason.

At the time, I was worried about Lazar's skill level and if he had enough pure upside to elevate his scoring. I saw him as a great skater who played hard and was good defensively, but I thought he was just OK with the puck. I don't think he's necessarily amazing in that area, but I'm much more confident now that he projects into the upper half of a lineup, scoring-wise. Combine that with his ability to play heavy minutes, and he's a very good prospect.

Too often it’s the fans who overvalue their favorite team’s prospects (ie. “Hey, the clock hasn’t run out on a Nikita Filatov return to the NHL!!!!((((!!!!(((((!“), so it’s always reassuring to hear that some independent third party evaluator has come around on a particular prospect of interest – in this case Lazar – and sees a lot of the promise and ability that the Senators saw when they drafted him.

It’s the second time since the New Year that Pronman has praised Lazar’s performance. In January, Pronman revealed his top 50 drafted NHL prospects and Lazar, who was omitted from this summer’s aforementioned top 100 drafted prospects list, rocketed up his list to the 20th ranked prospect.

Not that it necessarily needs it at the moment, but this kind of recurrent praise does instill (or restore) confidence in the amateur scouting department and the work done by Pierre Dorion and his staff; especially since the Senators were drafting in the second half of the first round.

If teams like the Senators are going to perennially vie for a playoff spot, they’re going to have to consistently find gems in the mid to late first round or later, who can help improve the team’s system and give management the flexibility to move future assets or roster players to allow this team to take the next step towards Stanley Cup contention.

So how is Lazar earning the confidence of these evaluators?

With three goals and four points in his last two games, Lazar surpassed his 61 point total from last season and most impressively, he did it in 27 fewer games. Although his 62 points established a new regular season high, Lazar still has to score six more goals to eclipse last season’s 38.

As a player renowned for his intangibles, Ottawa’s first round draft selection in 2013 (17th overall) has a stat line that borders on the ridiculous.

Season

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

2013-14

45

33

29

62

39

19

2012-13

72

38

23

61

25

47

2011-12

63

20

11

31

15

56

2010-11

6

0

1

1

2

0

In short, his performance this season is pretty nails.

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