by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)
NHL Draft War Room: Lawson Crouse
Ranked #11 – Mar-15 Rankings
- Hashtag: #EveryCoaches’Dream
- Team: #67, Kingston, OHL
- Position: Left Wing
- Shoots: Left
- Height: 6’3
- Weight: 212 lb.
- Born: London, ON, 23-Jun-97
- Twitter: @LawCrouse
- 3 – ISS – Top 30, Mar-15
- 4 – SN – Damien Cox, Feb-15 – Top 30
- 4 – NHL Combined – Top 305, Mid, Jan-15
- 6 – FC – Top 30, Mar-15
- 6 – McKeens – Top 30, Mar-15
- 6 – TSN – Bob McKenzie’s Poll of NHL Scouts – Top 60 – Mid, Jan-15
- 8 – HP – Top 60, Feb-15
- 11 – THW – Christopher Ralph, Top 30, Mid, Feb-15
- 11 – TSN – Craig Button – Top 100, Mar-15
THW’s Draft War Room: “The Coach’s Dream”
Eldon MacDonald, THW: A few words on Lawson Crouse:
Every Coach’s Dream: Lawson Crouse is a coach’s dream because he not only does all the little things right, he also serves as the role model in inspiring other teammates to do them as well. It also does not hurt that he has that large-size, mature NHL physique and prepared to use it.
On Kingston LW Lawson Crouse: "I see many Cam Neely-type traits in Crouse. He could one day be that type of player."
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) March 28, 2015
Five Reasons Why Lawson Crouse May Be Selected in the Top Ten of the 2015 NHL Draft
- Big Man Game: Coaches love a big man presence on their side who can change the complexion of a game by how he uses his size and strength. This element to Lawson Crouse’s game bought him a ticket to the Team Canada U20 Team and was a key contributor in helping Canada bring home a gold medal in that tournament.
- Havoc Creator: Coaches love a player who can throw their opposite counterparts into a frenzy by creating havoc all over the ice and leaving the opposition’s game plan in tatters. “Raise a little hell”, that describes what Lawson Crouse can do – net drive, net presence, board battles, scrums, forechecking, bodychecking.
- Role model: Coaches love a player that they can use an example to inspire other players. Lawson Crouse serves as that role model, particularly for the younger guys.
- Hardest Worker: Coaches love a hard worker. They must love Lawson Crouse too because they just voted him as the hardest worker in the Eastern Conference of the OHL and it wasn’t even close.
- Defensive Excellence: Coaches love that top-end defensive guy who they can throw out against the opposition’s best and make sure that the game doesn’t get out of control by the opposition’s top forwards. It is as essential part of their game plan. Lawson Crouse is that defensively excellent forward who can compete the game plan.
- Shooting: NHL shot and release – needs to use it a bit more often.
- Skating: Big man stride, big man balance, big man force – Some question his skating; I am not one of them.
- Net Drive and Presence: Formidable for both. Can be game changing.
- Cycle Game: Very good at maintaining puck possession in the opposition zone for extended periods due to his willingness to use his large frame and reach to constantly win puck and board battles.
- Lawson Crouse Passing: Lawson Crouse may not be the next Sidney Crosby of passing. However, he excels at Lawson Crouse passing – knock a body over or off balance and let your linemate pick up the loose puck. I would call those passes more crunchy than crisp.
Defense: Lawson is a high-end defensive forward, very disruptive to the opposition D on the forecheck, very supportive of his own defenseman on the breakout. He uses a combination of mental strength (ability to read the opposition) and physical strength (size, strength, reach) to intimidate the opposition. He is also effective on the PK and will likely find regular employment there when he reaches the NHL.
Awards and Achievements
- 2014-15: IIHF U20 Tournament – Team Canada – Gold Medal
- 2014-15: Selected for BMO NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game
- 2014-15: Eastern Conference of OHL – Hardest Worker (Coaches Poll)
Improvements to make:
- Shot – His shot is great but he needs to use it more.
- Passing – Passing is probably never going to be Lawson’s go to weapon of choice. Improvements to this part of his game will help his overall game by giving him more options and giving the opposition more to worry about.
- Offense – Lawson has made his mark with the defensive side of his game. He needs to give the same commitment to improve and attention to detail to the offensive side that has made his defensive game so good.
NHL Projection: Lawson definitely will make the NHL in a top 9 grinder, checker, energy-guy role. Top 6 is also well within his grasp if he can improve the offensive side of his game just a tad – more shooting, more work on the passing option and just more attention to the offensive side of the game in general.
Draft placement: As can be seen from the rankings above, Lawson is currently in the 3 to 11 range. I currently have him at the lower end at 11 because I want him to show us a little more offense.
— ISS Hockey (@ISShockey) March 7, 2015
Those in the Know
- Quote 1: Pro Hockey Talk – NBC Sports – Benoit Groulx, Coach of the Gatineau Olympiques and Gold Medal Winner as Coach of Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF U20 tournament, “Everytime he’s out there, you know what he’s giving you. You know what he brings to the table. He’s a big body, likes to get involved. Smart player, solid with the puck. He’s solid also on the defensive game.”
- Quote 2: TheWhig.com – Paul McFarland, Head Coach of the Kingston Frontenacs, “He’s the kind of role model we want to represent not only our team and our league, but the game of hockey. He’s someone all the younger guys on the team — and even some older guys — look up to.”
- Quote 3: NHL.com – Ryan Jankowski, Director of Player Personnel for Team Canada, “Lawson is big (6-foot-4, 211 pounds), strong, plays a very straightforward game, he’s exceptional on the penalty kill. Other guys are great players and I hope they don’t feel slighted, they’re going to get their opportunity, but in this case because of his size and his strength, and it being a big-man tournament, we felt Lawson was a real credible guy for us.”
- Quote 4: OHLProspects.ca – Brendan Ross, Manager of Dobber Prospects and scout for McKeen’s and Scout.ca, “After juggling him around on this list a few times, Crouse lands among the OHL’s best and for good reason. He was one of Canada’s most consistent players at the recent World Juniors showing scouts that he’s not only a great defensive player but also owns skills conducive to top-six upside. His production may scare some people but he’s the lone wolf (due to injuries) on a Kingston team struggling to score. Blessed with good offensive instincts, soft hands (particularly in traffic) and a pro-level shot, Crouse has the offensive tools to flank a top-six pivot and produce at the next level.”
- Quote 5: NHL.com – Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com Staff Writer, “Played a key fourth-line role for gold medal-winning Canada at the 2015 WJC. At 6-4 and 211 pounds he’s physically engaged each time he steps on the ice as the prototypical power forward. He’s regarded as the hardest hitter in the OHL and possesses good offensive tools for a big man.”
- Interview 1: HockeyNow.ca – Kristopher Bras – 1-Feb-15
- Interview 2: The Pipeline Show – 19-Oct-14 (Audio)
- Interview 3: NHL.com (Video)
- Profile 1: The Hockey Writers – Shawn Reznik – 8-Mar-15
- Profile 2: NHL.com – Mike G. Morreale – 5-Mar-15
- Profile 3: BSHockey.com – Jeremy Crowe – 26-Feb-15
- Profile 4: OvertimeSportsNation.com – Mike Mackley – 24-Feb-15
- Profile 5: Sportsnet.ca – Kristina Rutherford – 4-Dec-14
— Ryan Yessie (@RyanYessie) March 15, 2015
- Video 1: IIHF 2015 World Junior Tournament Highlights – BigWhite06
- Video 2: Highlights – TheHockeyVidz
- Video 3: Hat trick (28-Nov-14) – TV Cogeco
- Video 4: Feature – Rogers TV.com
- Video 5: Fight versus Phil Baltisberger (14-Nov-14) – Hockey Prospect Videos
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Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com