Draft Prospect Profile: Lawson Crouse

In the weeks leading up to the NHL Draft, we're looking at potential first-round selections for the Flyers at their own pick at seven and their acquired pick from Tampa Bay in a slot to be determined.

These profiles will be featured on Flyerdelphia every Tuesday and Thursday.

Today's prospect profile is Kingston Frontenacs left winger Lawson Crouse.

The 17-year-old forward was a near point-per-game player for Kingston with 51 points in 56 games, including 29 goals, and added three points in four games in the OHL Playoffs. He had three points in seven games in Canada's run to a World Juniors Championship.

Crouse is a phenomenal forechecker with great presence in the offensive zone. His 6'4" frame and above-average skating ability allow him to create space for teammates and while he has the ability to lead rushes with speed and go to the net alone on breakaways, he is much better in pressure situations where he needs to use his strength on defenders.

At 212 pounds, he can certainly hold his own. Defending this kid is a nightmare, especially if he can catch them out of position.

For as much as his offensive zone presence on the forecheck and his puck protection is profiled, but don't think he doesn't possess a ton of skill. He can surprise defenders with a dangle or deke here and has a lethal shot. 

This is another solid mix of power forward meets skill forward. His puck handling and finesse, while much rarer to his game, are still in his repertoire, he's a power forward at heart. In World Juniors, he served as a fourth-line winger and delivered the grit necessary to fulfill the role. There is no doubt that whoever ends up with Crouse is getting a hard-working player who goes to the dirty areas to create offense.

Defensively, he's a solid two-way player, using his size to be a physical presence and force turnovers. 

The one area in question for his game is his offensive production. Yes, he was nearly a point-per-game player and predominately a goal scorer, but some scouts wonder if he can produce at that rate at the NHL level. While his skill set may show he is near NHL-ready, his production could be what holds him back a couple of years.

But at 17, Crouse has time to grow into the role he will likely play, and his potential is too great to pass up. He easily has the potential to be a Top-6 forward. 

Crouse also has the potential to be a Top-5 pick, projected to go right around fifth overall, and will be gone within the first 10 picks for sure. If he somehow slips back to seven, where the Flyers are waiting, this might be the complete package player they are looking for. 

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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