Saturday was the deadline for the Penguins to sign prospect Zachary Lauzon, and they did not sign the 2017 second-round pick. The Penguins relinquish their exclusive signing rights to Lauzon.
Lauzon going unsigned is not surprising. The defenseman's playing career is in doubt, as he is still dealing with the effects of a concussion sustained in April 2017.
Lauzon played 25 total regular season games with the QMJHL's Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the 2017-18 season, spaced out over three stints as he kept trying to return from post-concussion effects. Each time, he suffered from neck pain, dizziness, and headaches. He played in five playoff games for the Huskies before being forced to sit out for the remainder of the season.
Lauzon was working towards a return in the 2018-19 season, with December set as a target. He resumed skating on his own, but was never able to rejoin skating with the team and he was shut down for the entire season.
Lauzon has worked with Dr. Ted Carrick at the Plasticity Brain Center in Orlando during his recovery. Carrick is the same doctor who treated Sidney Crosby when Crosby was dealing with his own concussion issues. Carrick diagnosed Lauzon with a neck injury sustained from the impact of the hit that caused his concussion.
“The motto for the rest of my career will be that health comes first,” Lauzon said in November.
Lauzon, who turns 21 in October, is eligible to re-enter the draft this summer, but that likely won't happen, given his history. If he does play again, he is now too old to return to the QMJHL (even for an overage season).