The Buffalo Sabres have decided that Curtis Lazar played well enough to keep around, signing him to a new two-year contract. The deal will carry an average annual value of $800K and allow Lazar to avoid restricted free agency this offseason.
Now 25, Lazar is on his third NHL organization since being the 17th overall pick in 2013. Never developing into the dominant power forward that some expected, he did seem to find a home in the Sabres bottom-six this season. Scoring 10 points in 38 games was obviously enough to show he deserved a new deal, one that will keep him an inexpensive option for head coach Ralph Krueger.
Amazingly, Lazar becomes just the fifth Sabres forward under contract for the 2020-21 season. While prospects like Dylan Cozens are expected to take a roster spot, it’s rare that you see an NHL team with so many pending free agents in one year. Wayne Simmonds, Vladimir Sobotka, Jimmy Vesey, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson and Michael Frolik are all scheduled for unrestricted free agency, while Dominik Kahun, Tage Thompson, Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart are all restricted free agents.
That will situation will offer a ton of flexibility for new GM Kevyn Adams as he looks to right the ship and fix a culture that has resulted in only losses over the last decade. The last time the Sabres went to the playoffs was 2011, something they’ll try to change quickly.