News / Calgary

Ep. 9: FLAMES UP CLOSE with Ryan Leslie, guest Curtis Lazar

Ryan Leslie sits down with new Flame Curtis Lazar about a fresh start in Calgary and his goal to rejuvenate his career.

Curtis Lazar captained Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championships.

Steve Russell / Toronto Star

Curtis Lazar captained Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championships.

The smile is back... almost.

The newest member of the Calgary Flames is known for his trademark grin but it had been missing of late. That was until the trade that sent him from the Ottawa Senators to the hometown Calgary Flames. 

The Senators chose Lazar 17th overall in the 2013 Draft. He was a captain, he was a Memorial Cup and World Junior champion, and he had the character teams want and need. But somewhere between his first and third year, something wasn't working.

Whether it was new coaches and new systems or his own play as he struggled to find confidence, it became clear, the kid from Salmon Arm, B.C. needed to leave the nation's capital and head west for a new beginning.

Listen to more Flames Up Close episodes:

Lazar admitted Calgary was at the top of his list for a new address. He likes the young nucleus on the team. He played for Flames assistant coach Dave Cameron in Ottawa. He knows some of the players, and has basically fit like a glove in just over a week after being sent here at the trade deadline.  

Except for one thing. He can't get in the lineup because, well, the team is the hottest in the NHL. You don't mess with that right now.

In our conversation for the Flames Up Close, Lazar says he's more than understanding of that, especially as he's learning the ropes around here. He opens up about the thought about taking a leave of absence from hockey, how now he's just happy to be here and how he can learn from a teammate and former first round pick who struggled, Mikael Backlund, on patience and perseverance. 

Even though he's not in the lineup yet, Lazar says he feels like he's back in junior. Light. Happy. 

A fresh start for a first round pick. Definitely something to smile about. 

More on Metronews.ca