The Arizona Coyotes have signed one of their restricted free agents, inking Lawson Crouse to a three-year contract. The team did not release any financial information on the deal, but CapFriendly is reporting that it will be for a total of $4.6MM ($1.53MM AAV). GM John Chayka issued a short statement:
We are very pleased to sign Lawson to a multi-year contract. He had a very good season last year and really established himself as an NHL power forward. We look forward to having him in our lineup.
Crouse, 22, was the 11th overall pick in 2015 by the Florida Panthers, but ended up heading to Arizona just a year later in a deal that saw the Coyotes take Dave Bolland’s contract. Bolland was never going to play again thanks to a back injury, so Arizona took the money off the Panthers’ books and received a top prospect in Crouse for their trouble. The power forward at that point was coming off a solid season in the OHL and a second appearance at the World Juniors for Canada.
Surprisingly, he made the Coyotes out of camp as a 19-year old in 2016-17 and played 72 games with the team instead of going back to junior. In 2017-18 though, with the option of the AHL available, Crouse spent most of the season with the Tucson Roadrunners where he recorded 32 points in 56 games. The confidence built in the AHL continued over to the most recent season, where he started to establish himself and recorded 25 points in 81 NHL games.
Moving forward, the Coyotes will hope that the 6’4″ 220-lbs forward can develop his scoring touch even further and drive the puck to the net with more frequency. Crouse is a good skater, especially for his size, and could be a key player moving forward for them.