The Penguins relinquished their signing rights to defenseman Zachary Lauzon earlier this month, but Lauzon is still optimistic about his future in hockey.
Lauzon, the Penguins' second-round pick in 2017, spent last season rehabbing from the effects of a concussion sustained in April 2017. He only played 25 total regular season games with the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the 2017-18 season, spaced out over three stints, and did not play for the entire 2018-19 season.
Lauzon has reportedly committed to play college hockey for the University of New Brunswick next season:
Being told Rouyn-Noranda's Zachary Lauzon has committed to UNB for '19-20. He just missed the entirety of the '18-19 season, but is still a highly regarded defensive defenceman who was a Pittsburgh 2nd round pick in '17 and QMJHL Defensive D-Man of the year in '16-17.
The New Brunswick Reds were U Sports (Canada's equivalent of the NCAA) champions last season.
In a French interview with NHL.com, Lauzon said that he is fully recovered from his concussion issues and nearly returned to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies' lineup in December, until a foot injury in practice shut him down for the remainder of the season.
"If I look at where I was a year ago today, it's day and night," said Lauzon. "I was sure my career was over. ... It's a 180-degree turn, I'm proud of the process and I'm happy to be where I am."
Lauzon said that the Penguins haven't given up on him as a prospect, even though he went unsigned. He said that the plan is still for him to attend this month's development camp.
"They took care of me as best they could," Lauzon said of the Penguins. "I never felt any pressure despite everything that was happening. It's a business, but I never felt rushed. I am extremely grateful; they supported me financially in my treatments.
"If I have a chance to sign with the Penguins, it would be a dream for me. When I look at the progress I've made in the last two years, it would be a really good story. "