Flyers’ Lawson Crouse Interest Shows Team’s Focus on the Future

The Philadelphia Flyers aren’t in the best position to be sellers, as they sit seven points back with three more games played than the Boston Bruins who hold the second wildcard spot. It has been revealed that several teams, including the Flyers, have shown interest in Lawson Crouse, as the Arizona Coyotes are in fire-sale mode as they continue to rebuild.

Reasons the Flyers Have Interest

The Flyers have a number of reasons to be in on a young forward in a year they may not be in the race. They have just eight full-time NHL forwards signed past this season and with that the space to add players that can help them in the future.

Crouse is just 24 years old and is signed at $1.533 million until the end of the season when he becomes a restricted free agent (RFA). The RFA part of that is key, as whoever trades for him will have his rights and can negotiate a contract sooner than free agency. Because of this, the Flyers definitely don’t want to miss out on acquiring someone they are interested in and then he isn’t available anymore due to signing with another team.

Lawson Crouse Arizona Coyotes
Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A former 11th overall selection, there has been and remains potential there. Some players take longer to develop, while others benefit from a change in scenery or new linemates. The Flyers didn’t really address their forward group too much in the offseason, as they had a number of players tied up in contracts and they were building to win. If the losing trend continues for the remainder of the season, more than just upcoming free agents could be on the move in order to retool for the future.

Crouse Can Be Integral Bottom-6 Player for Flyers

Crouse has spent his entire six-year career with the Coyotes, who have not been known to score a ton of goals. This has definitely affected his offensive production over the years. He has topped out at 15 goals and 25 points, both coming in the 2019-20 season. Last season was a down year, but he has bounced back nicely and should break his season highs in goals, assists, and points well before the end of the season.

Crouse is playing in the top-six in Arizona, but take into account they also have a weaker group. With nine goals and 17 points in 32 games, he has been rewarded with playing on the second line. If the Flyers acquire him, we could easily see him spend time higher up in the lineup.

Among the bottom-six, the way Crouse has played this season, he would be slotted in on the third line at worst, with a decent chance to be mixed into the top-six. The Flyers’ forwards signed after this season are Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, James van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson, Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, Scott Laughton, and Oskar Lindblom. Among these players, Crouse would really only be competing against the likes of van Riemsdyk, Laughton, and Lindblom for top-six minutes barring any other significant signings. These players are more middle-six players, while Lindblom and Laughton should be on the third line on a fully healthy team.

The Next Wave of Flyers

When compared to the Philadelphia lineup, Crouse has the fourth-most goals (nine) and points (17). What may stand out to you is the plus/minus he has as well. On a Coyotes team that has a minus-56, Crouse is only minus-two.

Lawson Crouse Arizona Coyotes
Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The next wave of Flyers has started already due to the amount of full-time NHLers that have missed time due to injury or COVID. This applies to the forwards and defence. Of course, Carter Hart is very young and has been one of the bright spots on the Flyers, doing his job to bounce back. But as far as the rest of the team goes, players like Max Willman, Morgan Frost, Jackson Cates, Connor Bunnaman, Cam York, and Egor Zamula have all broken into the NHL in some capacity this season to get a taste of the highest level.

Related: Flyers: 3 Trade Destinations for Claude Giroux

As I mentioned, Crouse is just 24 and fits right into the age group of a number of the Flyers they can build the future around. The future of Claude Giroux is still up in the air, but a decision by him could be the piece that pushes the Flyers to retool once again and plan for the future. Either way, acquiring Crouse is a move that can help out in the immediate future and not be a piece that they are still waiting on to contribute to the team.

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