Arizona Coyotes, Lawson Crouse

Coyotes’ Crouse Expected to Flourish After Roster Additions

When the Arizona Coyotes take the ice for Game 1 against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, Oct. 13, the organization may have its best roster in years. This team has more speed, scoring depth, and experience. However, there is one player who is returning that may be the most important as the team continues to push towards a winning record. That player is winger Lawson Crouse.

Coyotes’ Crouse Delivering on a Nightly Basis

Crouse is not a homegrown talent like most players in the NHL are. He was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the first round (11th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-4 and 215-pound forward had finished a season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and were looking to the next set of challenges. Crouse finished his OHL career with Kingston after 168 games and three seasons. He totaled 67 goals and 73 assists for 140 points, 190 penalty minutes, and was a plus-33. He achieved all he could and had nothing left to prove; after that it was on to the NHL with the Panthers.

At least he thought so. On Aug. 25, 2016, he was traded with forward Dave Bolland to the Arizona Coyotes. In exchange, Florida got a third-round pick in 2017 and a conditional second-round pick in 2018. Before his NHL career even started, he went through this drastic change. There was nothing he could do except perform to the best of his abilities for his new team and produce offensively when he got his chances.

Related: Massive Trade Brings Crouse to Coyotes

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That was all she wrote as he has been in the Coyotes organization since that trade. Crouse has made quite the impression as he continues to improve his all-around game to better himself and his teammates.

Coyotes’ Crouse Sets Career Highs

Crouse finished fourth in team scoring last season. He had career highs in goals (24), assists (21), points (45), even-strength goals (18), power-play goals (6), even-strength assists (19), shooting percentage (15.9 percent), average time on ice (17:45), blocked shots (58), and takeaways (32). He was one of the more accomplished Coyotes throughout the season. For his career, Crouse has 80 goals and 75 assists for 155 points and 286 penalty minutes in 423 games. He has averaged 150 hits in six of his seven seasons.

Lawson Crouse Arizona Coyotes
Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He will not be the elite scorer that Clayton Keller is, nor will he be the heavyweight fighter that Liam O’Brien is. However, he delivers both on a nightly basis. Crouse is one of the more complete players in the league, as he plays a regular shift, power play, penalty kill, contributes offensively, plays defense, and fights. Not too many other players in the league can say that.

Nicknamed “The Sheriff” by the team and fans for his physical play, his all-around game has improved each season. He is an imposing figure at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, yet he has soft hands around the net, is a strong skater for his size, and is a gritty player in all three zones. He is an underrated asset to a team that is climbing in the standings.

Is Crouse being used too much or too little? He does have a lot of different responsibilities in a short time on the ice. He is effective in every role as he plays a huge part in the on-ice success and impacts how the middle six plays out.

New Additions Create New Opportunities

Crouse could see career highs in offensive categories this season as general manager Bill Armstrong has given the Coyotes more weapons offensively up and down the lineup. With Jason Zucker, Alex Kerfoot, Matt Dumba, and Sean Durzi added in the offseason, Crouse, the only player to wear No. 67 in franchise history, could see a big jump in his numbers.

He brings a leadership mentality to the Coyotes that has gone unmatched. Crouse will be entering his eighth season with the team, and his hard work over the years has paid off—he has been more consistent on the ice and able to be more offensively creative. Should he be considered to be the next captain for the organization? Absolutely.

Crouse could be in the running for that role, and he seems more than qualified. He has been a leader in the past and has previously worn a letter. He wore the “A” during the 2015-16 season with Kingston and the 2015-16 Canada U20 World Junior Championship, in which he had six goals and three assists for nine points and four penalty minutes in 10 games.

Loui Eriksson, Lawson Crouse
Vancouver Canucks’ Loui Eriksson and Arizona Coyotes’ Lawson Crouse collide. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Crouse brings a different aspect to the roster that should be mentioned. He has talent and a drive to make this team better through hard work. Are the Coyotes a Stanley Cup contender? Maybe not this season but they can improve in the standings with the upgraded roster for the upcoming season.

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