OTTAWA -- Forward Curtis Lazar was traded to the Calgary Flames by the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.
Asked what kind of player the Flames were getting, Lazar said, "A happy one."
The Senators ended a disappointing six months for Lazar by trading him and defenseman Michael Kostka to the Flames for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
"We're not making this bet based upon what he's doing today," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "We think there's significant upside. The character of this kid … he's going to put the work in. We think the environment and the group that we have here, he fits right in with that age group. He's got a lot of work to do to get to the level that he wants to and we want him to. We talked to him today. He's committed."
Lazar, the No. 17 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, played a prominent role for Ottawa in his rookie season of 2014-15 and was part of a good third line for the Senators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in his second season, but the 22-year-old never got on track this season under coach Guy Boucher.
Lazar had mononucleosis in training camp in September and started the season with Binghamton of the American Hockey League. He was called up Nov. 19, had one assist in 33 games, and was a healthy scratch for five of his final nine games with the Senators.
Recent trades for veteran forwards Alexandre Burrows and Viktor Stalberg pushed Lazar further down the depth chart.
"There were some tough conversations that were had a few weeks ago, and a trade was definitely one thing that came up, and here we are," Lazar said. "I was fully prepared to stay here and soldier on with the Senators. I do wish I would have had a future here and I wish I could have contributed more, but the cards just didn't play out that way. If I don't have mono, we're probably not standing here right now. It put me behind the eight ball to start.
"I'm very excited to be a part of the Calgary Flames organization. We're right in the thick of things when it comes to the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]. I'm hoping to make a lasting impact on that team."
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said it was time to move on for both sides.
"[The trade] was very difficult for us as an organization and for me personally," Dorion said. "It wasn't working out with Curtis this year, whether it was the mono to start off, maybe he was behind the eight ball the whole year, we saw that he wasn't the same player he'd been in the past.
"We just felt giving him a fresh start, a new opportunity, and at the same time we were looking to improve our defensive depth and adding a high pick in this draft."
Kostka, 31, had one assist and was plus-6 in 15 games for the Senators this season. He has 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 85 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Senators.
Jokipakka, 25, has six points (one goal, five assists) in 38 games for the Flames this season, and 28 points (three goals, 25 assists) in 147 NHL games. He was traded to Calgary by the Dallas Stars on Feb. 29, 2016.