3 Players That Could Be This Year's "Curtis Lazar" Trade

The New Jersey Devils made a savvy, under-the-radar move when they traded for Curtis Lazar at last year's NHL Trade Deadline. The Devils should look into a similar type of trade before this year's deadline.

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At last year's NHL Trade Deadline, New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald made a small yet surprising trade when he acquired Curtis Lazar from the Vancouver Canucks. The fanbase was still riding the high of the Timo Meier trade just the week prior, so not many expected another trade. This ended up being a very valuable deal for the Devils.

It turned out that the Lazar trade was a nice piece of business for the Devils. For just a fourth-round pick, they were able to get a solid bottom-six piece with center/wing versatility. Perhaps what was the most important aspect of that trade was Lazar's AAV. At the time, Lazar had two more years remaining on his contract at just $1 million per season. The trade has paid off nicely, as Lazar is on track to achieve a career-high in points.

Unfortunately, it came in a season of disappointment. The Devils have been wildly inconsistent and look on track to miss the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 seasons. With the trade deadline approaching, the team looks closer to selling off rather than buying.

And while that may be true, especially for the goaltender position, Fitzgerald should still explore a hockey trade. A Lazar-esque trade makes a ton of sense for the team. Finding a player with a low AAV that isn't a pending free agent is a good way to try and help boost the team in any fashion this season while also having an eye on next year.