BRIGHTON, MA – The Boston Bruins have routinely moved on from fourth line forwards when they hit unrestricted free agency and bigger cap dollars in the past, and they’ve done it again this season with Curtis Lazar.
The British Columbia-born fourth line winger has signed a three-year, $3 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks and returned home to be an energy player for a young, exciting hockey team moving forward. On the other side of the coin, the Boston Bruins have signed another fourth line candidate, AJ Greer, to a two-year contract worth $762,500 per season after bouncing between the AHL and NHL with the Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils over the last handful of seasons.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) July 13, 2022
The 25-year-old Greer has two goals and six points in 47 NHL games along with 56 penalty minutes in his pro career, and figures to be in the mix for a fourth line role as a former teammate of Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk at Boston University. Greer posted a Instagram message expressing excitement to continue his career in a city that has a special connection to him and where he’s completing his degree.
Lazar sounded thankful for his time in Boston leading to him getting back home to Vancouver with the kind of security with a three-year term that he hasn’t enjoyed to this point in his NHL career.
“First and foremost, being a home Province kid, I grew up cheering for the Canucks and I have a very soft spot for the organization because my passion toward the game was generated watching those Canucks growing up.
“[I want] to be a leader and hopefully take some of those lessons that I learned in the Boston Bruins locker room and hopefully implement them here in Vancouver and get us back into the playoffs.”
PART 1: Curtis Lazar meets with the media following the announcement of his contract signing with Vancouver. pic.twitter.com/85y5lPuDlX
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 13, 2022
The 27-year-old played both center and winger with eight goals and 16 points in 70 games while bringing energy and some sandpaper to the table along with pretty solid skill for a fourth line guy. Lazar teamed with Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek for an effective energy line during the first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes. When asked about his expected fourth line role by the Vancouver media during a Zoom call on Wednesday, he pointed toward former Boston Bruins teammate Brad Marchand on somebody that he took cues from on how he’s approaching his game.
“You look at today’s game and playing in Boston you didn’t have to look any further than Brad Marchand. He was the guy that played the game along the lines. Sometimes he’d cross it, but he was a true competitor,” said Lazar. “That’s me. I’m not a guy that’s going to be running his mouth out there. I’ll let my play do the talking, but nobody is going to be getting a free pass out there.”
The writing was on the wall with the Bruins based on Boston’s standard operating practice with veteran fourth liners in recent seasons due to salary cap considerations, and with the Boston Bruins signing Oskar Steen to a one-way contract for this upcoming season. The fourth line should be an interesting scene with veteran winger Chris Wagner still under contract with the B’s and former Boston University forward AJ Greer signed to a two-year, one-way contract with the Boston Bruins as well.