The choice to trade veteran and fan-favorite Jaromir Jagr for a potential first round draft pick seemed insane, but with the draft nearing, and the Fansided Mock Draft coming to a close, the method behind the madness is emerging. With the 28th pick in this year’s mock draft, the Dallas Stars pick center Curtis Lazar of the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings.
There were two obvious areas of struggle for the Stars this season: defense, and a significant lack of, well for lack of a better word, oomph at center. Jamie Benn was undeniably the team’s most powerful center, but unless he finds out how to make an exact duplicate of himself, one Benn won’t be enough to push this team to the playoffs in the coming years
Lazar is both well-rounded and physical, adding depth to a team that desperately needs it. His spry, quick skating style makes the 18-year-old Canadian a strong asset to a team that seemed covered in an air of sluggishness throughout the 2012-2013 season. His strength in the face off circle adds yet another facet to Dallas’ game that needs drastic improvement, even in respect to Benn.
His slighter 6’0″, 198-pound size may make his selection daunting to some teams, but with team-leading Benn standing just two inches taller and weighing only seven pounds more, Lazar’s stature seems to meld almost perfectly with one of Dallas’ strongest players.
In his three seasons with the Oil Kings, Lazar played in 141 games, scored 58 goals and recorded 35 assists. He led the Oil Kings in goals this season, scoring 38 in 72 games. In the team’s race for the Chynoweth Cup, Lazar contributed nine goals and two assists, but his efforts weren’t enough to push the Oil Kings to the Chapmionship, and the team fell in six games to the Portland Winterhawks. Just a year earlier, Lazar contributed eight goals and 11 assists in the team’s chance for the Cup, and experienced his winning his first Cup Championship at just 17-years-old.
To get a sneak peak into what this young Canadian has to offer a team striving for youthfulness and versatility, check out the following video put together by Sportsnet.