Lawson Crouse THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 6/23/1997
Place of birth: London, ON, CAN
Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 212 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2015
THW The Next Ones Rankings (February): 11
HockeyProspect.com (February): 8
Last Word On Sports (February): 10
Craig Button: 12
CS Final Rankings for North American skaters (January): 4
It isn’t often you see a 6’4″, 212 lbs. left winger with the skill that Lawson Crouse possesses. He can play the game as a power forward, but also has nifty stickwork, patience, and grit that make him a strong two-way player. Crouse makes a living playing in and around the net. His height and size make it difficult for goalies to see shots from the point and he’ll often pounce on a juicy rebound left in the crease.
This season, a problem for the rangy winger has been offensive consistency, however, he’s been able to pick up the pace as of late. Scoring points does factor into how well a player can be perceived, but there are many other aspects to Crouse’s game that make him a hot commodity for NHL teams.
Lawson shields the puck easily and uses his body to his advantage often outworking opponents to break into the offensive zone and creating chances. He won’t be the fastest skater on the ice, but he knows where to be with and without the puck.
While he only put up three points for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships this year, he still played extraordinarily well given his role on the team. Part of a bruising line with Nick Ritchie and Frederik Gauthier, Lawson Crouse showcased his skill on junior hockey’s grandest stage. The hype surrounding him is warranted.
Where Will He End Up In June:
Crouse will likely be chosen in the 5-10 range of the draft.
“A big-bodied forward who gives opposing defenses headaches with his effort on the forecheck…tough to contain with his huge frame and strength…impossible to separate from the puck and consistently is successful winning pucks and generating scoring chances through his hard work…moves the puck well with good vision and passing skill…a strong net-front presence… has decent speed for his size, though he could improve his quickness…plays hard on defense; forces plays and takes away angles…uses his size to play physical, including laying some devastating hits…is a moose along the wall down low…tremendous potential going forward. (August 2014)”
“A big man with an excellent size/skating package. Gets in quickly and handles the forecheck and control the play along the boards. Can control things in the crease area, and has a big time heavy shot and release. Is strong on the puck, and gets through contact, and can drive the net. Very high hockey IQ, and anticipates the play well. “
“Was part of Team Canada’s Ivan Hlinka winning squad this summer leading the team with 6 goals in 5 games. He has followed that up by making the World Junior Team and playing an important defensive role on the fourth line and penalty kill. Others have Crouse slightly higher than I do, and while I like him enough to have him in the top 10, and he’s a very complete player, I’m just not convinced about his high end offensive upside right now. Don’t get me wrong, I think he can be a top 6 forward at the next level, there are just some questions about whether or not Crouse has enough offensive potential to be a first line player. He has 18 goals and 28 points in 36 games for Kingston so far this year. At 6’4″ and 212 pounds Crouse is a budding power forward. He has a powerful skating stride, but could work on his first step and acceleration. That good power allows him to fight through checks and get to the net. He loves to get in the forecheck, and finishes his hits along the boards. He is very good in protecting the puck in the cycle and has the soft hands and can bang in goals from the front of the net. Lawson Crouse is also an excellent penalty killer, and has excellent defensive instincts. If he can show some more offense down the stretch, he could rise rapidly on my final rankings.“
Ben Kerr – Last Word On Sports
Crouse won a gold medal with Team Canada in January and has played in three other tournaments for the team. He’s received two bronze medals and another gold at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.
Risk: 1/5 Reward: 4/5
Top-six power forward with goal scoring potential
Winning puck battles
Shielding the puck
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Adding muscle to fill out his frame
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive: 7/10 Defensive: 6/10
NHL Player Comparison:
– NHL comparison: Troy Brouwer
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph