Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.
Lawson Crouse (LW)
Height: 6’4 Weight: 215 Shoots: Left
Team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 5 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
One of the biggest in this year’s draft. A hulking, physical presence, Crouse’s strength is his size yet he showed good offensive skills this season, leading OHL Kingston in goals (29) and points (51) despite playing just 56 games.
Still, the jury’s out on what kind of player Crouse projects to be at the NHL level. Optimists think he’ll be a power forward along the lines of Milan Lucic; pessimists suggest he’ll be more like Tom Wilson — not necessarily a bad thing, but a bit underwhelming (offensively speaking) for a potential top-10 pick.
The wildcard with Crouse are his intangibles: work ethic, grit, dedication and leadership. The stuff that flies in the face of analytics and fancy stats, but endeared him to his GM in Kingston — former Maple Leafs captain Doug Gilmour.
“He’s a great kid in the dressing room, he’s going to be a great leader,” Gilmour said recently, per Sportsnet. “He’s a big body. He can skate, he’s got a pro shot — his release is phenomenal.
“He’s going to compete.”
“Crouse is a man-child that skates exceptionally well and is comfortable in all three zones. Nicknamed ‘The Sheriff,’ he plays a heavy game, loves to finish checks and make opponents pay the price on every shift. His offensive game still has to evolve as he isn’t a naturally gifted scorer or set-up man, but does possess a pro-caliber shot that will serve him well in the NHL. He’s also a guy that will go into high-traffic areas. A surprise selection to Team Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the World Juniors, Crouse is the type of player coaches love to have in their arsenals.”
NHL comparable: Andrew Ladd/Scott Hartnell