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Senators’ Asking Price for Lazar is Comically High
OTTAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 11: Curtis Lazar #27 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Colorado Avalanche during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on February 11, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

During tonight’s Blues versus Senators broadcast on TSN5, Bruce Garrioch appeared in his regular first intermission ‘Question Period’ segment alongside Brent Wallace where he was asked about Curtis Lazar’s situation.

With Lazar sitting out tonight’s game as a healthy scratch, reports suggest that teams are kicking tires to see what Ottawa’s looking to do with the former top-50 NHL prospect.

According to Garrioch, the Senators are listening to offers, but the asking price is high (transcription via Paul aka @Sens_Army_).

We’re talking about a first or second round pick and I’m not even sure they want that because they’ve invested so much in him. I think they want to give him the opportunity to have success here.”

Well, it looks like the Senators are back to negotiating deals through the media, but I guess you can’t really blame Pierre Dorion for trying to fleece his counterparts.

If true, it’s an outlandish ask by the Senators for a prospect who has failed to demonstrate that he be an efficient NHL regular. Lazar’s underlying numbers not only portray a player who has failed to make those around him better, his production is among the NHL’s worst when it relative ice time is taken into consideration.

To put things into perspective, the New York Islanders flipped a third rounder to the Senators at last year’s deadline for Shane Prince, a second round pick. Similarly, the St. Louis Blues acquired 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov this past summer for a conditional draft pick. The Oilers acquired a third round pick with the condition that it would become a second round pick if Yakupov winds up scoring more than 15 goals this season. (Note: he won’t.)

It seems like a third round pick is the precedent, but Lazar’s a good, ol’ Canadian lad who has the kind of pedigree, character and intangibles that teams overpay for. Maybe there exists a blend of scouts, coaches or general managers out there who think they’re brilliant enough to get exponentially more from Lazar than Ottawa has, but I have a hard time believing that some team is going to fork over a first or second round pick for a flunking prospect.

If anything, it sounds like Ottawa’s aiming high and will have their bluff called.

There’s no way the organization can afford  protect Lazar going into the expansion draft and as a result, they’ll be looking to get something of value for him. If he’s not helping the Senators on the ice, he’s the kind of player that the Senators should be looking to use to bolster their playoff run. Since the likelihood of them getting a high draft pick for him is low, maybe they can find a non-playoff team that is looking to dump a rental or a player who they’ll be unable to protect for the expansion draft.

It may not be the glamorous first or second rounder that Garrioch referenced, but at least Lazar could be used to make the roster better. If he can’t provide value on the ice, at least there’s still a chance that he can provide some value off of it.

Update: 11:30 am — Wednesday, February 8, 2017

In Elliotte Friedman’s latest ’30 Thoughts’ column, he echoes Garrioch’s comments in regards to Lazar’s name popping up in trade rumours.

6. Just like with Calgary when Sam Bennett was a healthy scratch, Ottawa got its share of calls when Curtis Lazar sat out. I do think there is interest but I’m not sure the Senators are willing to pull the trigger. Teams will be happy to bet Lazar can rebound with a fresh start but don’t want to pay the price that comes with such a wager.

It’s early in February and there’s still a lot of time before this year’s trade deadline, so like the asking price on a player like Matt Duchene, the Senators are going to set a high bar. I’d imagine that bar will lower as we get closer to the March 1st trade deadline.