Birthdate: 06/03/1997 (18)
Acquired: 1st round selection (11th overall selection), 2015 NHL Entry Draft
2014-15 Team/League: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Size: 6'4", 215 pounds
Contract Status: $925,000 AAV (becomes RFA at the end of the 2017-2018 season, unless he is sent back to juniors; then his contract "slides" for another season)
As the team's most recent first round draft pick, there are high expectations for Lawson Crouse's future in South Florida, and it's a future that could possibly even start in the 2015-2016 season. The big-bodied winger's size, speed, and defensive skill certainly aren't up for debate, as those three attributes have long been classified as Crouse's best. His offensive skills, however, may not be NHL-ready as of right now, as he averaged less than a point per game in the OHL last season. In a league where the best players usually average anywhere from one-and-a-half to two points per game, seeing such a high-end draft pick fail to meet offensive expectations does raise some red flags, and if his point totals are indicative of his offensive skills at the moment, it's unlikely the 18-year-old will see time on the pro roster this season.
There is reason to believe, however, that Crouse's point totals aren't the best indicator of his offensive skill. His OHL team (the Kingston Frontenacs) was one of the lowest scoring teams in the entire league last season, and overall, Crouse had little help up front when it came to creating offense. We looked at some of the numbers after Dale Tallon drafted Crouse back in June, and here's what we came up with:
So, there's definitely reason to be optimistic headed into the future, though there's no guarantee that Crouse makes the NHL this season. From our development camp coverage:
And some more thoughts from a breakdown of Rocco Grimaldi's potential.
All of this speculation doesn't mean anything, but in the end, if Crouse does play his way onto the NHL team, I think there's no doubt that 1) he'll have earned it and 2) he'll be a useful player.
His long-term value is up for debate, but right now the ceiling for Crouse is top line, elite two-way player, and the floor really does seem to be great two-way third line play who eats up minutes on the penalty kill.
There's a huge gap in the LBC rankings of Crouse, as I believe that the 18-year-old power forward will develop into that elite two-way player, while others don't see the youngster developing to that level (yet). We'll have to wait and see, but his raw size, speed, and defensive skill are what got him #12 on this year's T25U25.
Where We Voted for Crouse
Who We Voted 12th
|Rocco Grimaldi||Lawson Crouse||
|Logan Shaw||Alex Petrovic|