The Calgary Flames aren’t a club unaccustomed to seeing their young stars make headlines. But while it’s been Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett drawing the eyeballs up until now, there’s one other young gun in the mix who’s looking to put his name in that conversation this season: Curtis Lazar. The former Ottawa Senators first-round pick (17th overall, 2013) joined the Flames organization by way of a trade in March, subsequently signing a two-year, $1.9-million deal with his new club. That extension came on the heels of a tumultuous 2016-17 campaign that saw Lazar post just one goal and three assists through 37 games split between Ottawa and Calgary. For a prospect who’s won gold representing Team Canada at the junior level (twice) and dominated in his pre-NHL days (Lazar amassed 76 points in just 58 games during his final WHL season), it’s fair to assume 2016-17 was a tough one to swallow. “Playing this game, you need swagger,” Lazar told CalgaryFlames.com’s George Johnson on Friday. “You have to trust your instincts. That’s imperative. Otherwise, you feel a bit lost, always seem to get caught in-between. Last year I felt lost.” After a tense few years in Ottawa, the pressure of performing well as a highly touted prospect caught up with Lazar last season, even after moving to a new environment in Calgary. “Growing up, I was always the go-to guy, put up good numbers. The mental part of my game started to slip,” Lazar said. “My passion took a hit. It got to the point I didn’t want to show up at the rink. The way things went, the last thing I wanted to do was walk around and show my face. Who knows what people would say?
Flames’ Lazar talks getting confidence back: ‘Last year I felt lost’
Sportsnet | Sep 16