Hey, when you’re huge, you don’t need to make as much of a leap.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon didn’t do the usual hemming and hawing you’d expect when talking up Lawson Crouse, the 11th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft. Instead, he threw down the gauntlet after signing the sizable young prospect to an entry-level contract in July.
“He was one of our best players in development camp and we are confident he can make an immediate impact on our roster, playing on one of our top lines,” Tallon said via a Panthers release.
It’s not just Tallon pumping him up, either, as head coach Gerard Galland said that Crouse “will be given every opportunity to earn a top-six forward position on our roster during training camp.”
That’s quite the accelerated outlook for a towering 18-year-old (listed at 6-foot-4, 215 lbs) whose offense seemingly came up short at times; Crouse managed just 51 points in 56 games at the OHL level in 2014-15.
Such modest production would leave the impression that the Panthers might be wise to allow Crouse to marinate at the junior level for at least a little while, yet it sounds like the organization thinks he’s on the right track. Florida might be growing a touch impatient with the slow-and-steady approach, and one can also imagine that they see an “NHL body” in Crouse.
Of course, it’s not as if the Panthers are committed to a decision yet. They can change their mind during training camp or even through a few regular season contests and decide to let him develop at a slower pace with no harm done.
All disclaimers aside, it sounds like he’ll get a real chance to make the roster right out of the draft.
Want to know more about Crouse? Check out this profile.