Position: Left Wing
Current Team: Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
Date of Birth: June 23, 1997
Place of Birth: London, Ontario
Weight: 212 lbs
Lawson Crouse has NHL size right now as a 17 year old. He has the frame that NHL teams covet in a power forward. He skates well for a big man, is physical, and has decent enough hands and shot. So, what's the rub? Some of the scouting reports I've read laud his measurables, but don't talk much about his actual ability to put the puck into the net. One (see below) even mentions a comparison to one Rick Nash; the difference? Nash had 63 goals and 138 points in his two OHL seasons before being drafted. Crouse? 44 goals and 78 points in nearly the same number of games. In short, there are some questions about his ceiling and offensive consistency.
A big-bodied power winger with the ability to physically dominate, making him a prominent forechecking presence every night. Possesses good hands that can be used to make crisp passes or to let loose accurate, NHL-level shots; paired with his strength and skating ability, his skill set allows him to contribute offensively, as well as create space for teammates. -Elite Prospects
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. - Shawn Reznik, The Hockey Writers
Crouse is a big physical forward who hits with aplomb and is quick to drop the gloves when called upon or in defence of a teammate. His work along the boards is formidable and he provides a strong net presence. Focus this year under Coach Paul McFarland has been defense first, but Crouse has plenty of offensive ability as seen since being united with Sam Bennett at the end of the season.
Crouse is strong on his skates with excellent balance and mobility for a big man with breakaway speed. Has decent hands, but is better suited at going through players as opposed to around them. Uses his size well in the corners and is adept at using one hand on the stick to control the puck while using his free arm to fend off opponents. Crouse has a hard shot which he can release very quickly. He is dangerous shooting off the rush and on one timers. With his size, skating ability and offense he is a sure fire NHL power forward in the mold of Rick Nash. - MyNHLDraft
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Hmmm... that depends on who you ask, I suspect. If you went to the drawing board and created a "Todd Richards Winger" it would probably be this kid: big, physical but with some speed, willing to hit people and work in the corners, and go to the dirty areas. That said, does he really possess top-of-the-draft offensive ability? Not so sure. If the Jackets are going to spend a top draft pick this year on a forward (which they don't really need to do, IMHO), not sure this is the guy. If he hits his ceiling some day, then he'd be a good fit for what the Jackets aim to do on offense. But, I'm not sure it's worth taking a guy in the top-10 on those hopes when there are better fits and more offensively talented guys.
Crouse in Action