Today's profile is on Lawson Crouse, a left winger from the Kingston Frontenacs.
Lawson Crouse, Left Wing, 6-foot-4, 215 Pounds, Shoots Left
|2014-2015||Canada U20 (WJC)||7||1||2||3||-1||0|
Lawson Crouse is one of the more polarising players who are expected to be drafted in the top ten of this draft. His numbers, on the face of it, look unimpressive for a player that one scouting organisation has named the fourth best player in the draft.
Despite his less than stellar looking numbers Lawson Crouse led the Frontenacs in points this season. They weren't particularly good this year and suffered some key injuries that limited their season.
On Crouse himself he is a huge forward that isn't afraid to use his physicality to punish opponents. He is willing to drop the gloves and defend his teammates as well. He uses his body very well and his style of game is more mature than others in the Major Juniors. The way he plays might make him more suited to the professional game rather than the juniors.
Normally with a player of Crouse's size there are skating issues. However Lawson Crouse can skate very well for a player of his size. He shows good mobility and can skate quite fast for someone of his size.
He is also shows some impressive hockey sense, knowing where to put the pass or where he needs to be on the ice as the play develops. This combined with his physical play makes him an impressive power forward.
His physical size is also utilised on the defensive side of his game. He knows where he has to be defensively and uses his size to great affect against onrushing forwards.
Crouse does have some weaknesses, his puck handling skills are nothing to write home about, he's not likely to pull off a flashy deke and score. He doesn't need to, his skill set is perfectly suited to a power forward role that doesn't necessarily need the flashiest hands in the world.
Crouse is a very safe pick to make the NHL, he has the size and skillset to fit almost anywhere in an NHL lineup. But this is where the questions mark become even more apparent. Will Crouse become a dominant top line winger who is a game changer or will he end up fitting in as a third line grinder winger? It's a case of high floor but unknown ceiling when it comes to his potential.
For even more on Lawson Crouse, you can read this piece that compares him to Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn.
Crouse is almost certain to be drafted within the top ten of the draft and won't be there to be selected by the Dallas Stars at 12th overall.
What do they say about him?
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
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 in winning battles along the boards.
Some say that Crouse has the potential to be a top line winger, and he could get there, but will need real improvements in his offensive game. It is more likely that he becomes a very good second line player. Even if the offense doesn't improve, Crouse has the size and defensive game to be a third liner, and so is a very safe pick. At his best Crouse's game resembles an Andrew Ladd, however this is a stylistic comparison and not a talent one.