#9 - Lawson Crouse - Winger (L/R)
Bonus Video: Lawson Crouse was dared to eat a worm for money on a top prospects outing. We still want to know if Mitch Marner ever paid up.
Rank in last year’s 21 under 21?: N/A, Traded to the Coyotes after the countdown had begun/was set.
Has He Played in the NHL?: Yes, 72 games with Coyotes in 2016-17
About Lawson Crouse:
From the start, Coyotes fans were skeptical in the acquisition of Lawson Crouse. A first round pick comes with a lot of expectations and many were worried about why the Panthers would trade away such a highly-picked prospect. While he was mostly attached to sweeten the deal of the Coyotes taking on the dead contract of Dave Bolland, it left a lot of questions unanswered about Crouse and his potential future in Arizona.
But Crouse didn’t disappoint in his rookie year in the NHL. He's not the first or maybe even second line winger you’re looking for, but he turned into a solid, bottom-six playmaker and learned to use his size (6’4”, 220lbs) at the NHL level. While Crouse may have gotten into his fair share of scraps, most notably a scuffle with Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, he's not your typical “fighter” or “grinder”. He put up a total of 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 2016-17, which is pretty middle of the road considering how the season went for the rest of the young Arizona Coyotes roster, but he has a high ceiling with lots of room to improve and grow with the team.
The Mount Brydges, Ontario native also came with a solid foundation to build on, which made Florida’s seemingly easy choice of parting with him a head-scratcher. He put up consistent point totals in his 3 seasons with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL with 27 points in 2013-14 (15G, 12A), 51 points in 2014-15 (29G, 22A), and 62 points in 2015-16 (23G, 39A). Crouse also brings the intangible leader aspect. He was captain of his Bantam AAA team when he was younger, wore the A for his last season with the Frontenacs, and was also an assistant captain when he represented Canada at the 2016 World Junior Championship. On such a young team, at 20 years old, Crouse has the opportunity to be a voice in the room, especially with the bottom-six forwards.
What does the future hold for Lawson Crouse?:
For Lawson Crouse, the possibilities seem endless. While he has room and needs to grow, preferably to somewhere in 10-12 goals & 20-25 points range, there’s nowhere for Crouse to go but up. His versatility is one of the most important aspects of his game, and the FFH staff and I had fun coming up with different line combinations of where Crouse would slot in.
Whether he’s on the second line, the right wing to Christian Dvorak’s center and Clayton Keller’s left wing, or switching with Brendan Perlini and Tobias Rieder to be the left or right wing on Dylan Strome’s potential third line, Lawson Crouse is going to make a difference on a strong, flexible Coyotes roster.