While Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and defenseman Jakob Chychrun have been the players receiving most of the trade speculation lately, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli puts another name in the mix, reporting that several teams – including the Flyers – have shown interest in winger Lawson Crouse.
The 24-year-old is already in his sixth NHL season and up until this season, he had been more of a role player, providing plenty of energy and physicality but not much in the way of consistent production. That has changed this season as head coach Andre Tourigny has given Crouse a much bigger role – he’s averaging over 18 minutes a night which is more than five minutes higher than his career ATOI heading into the season – and he has made the most of it, potting eight goals and eight assists, numbers that have him at a 20-goal and 40-point pace.
While it’s unlikely that Crouse would have that type of role on a playoff contender, he’d still fit in nicely on a third line for a lot of teams. The postseason is when the physicality picks up and power forwards become even more important so Arizona could be well-positioned to maximize their return here.
Crouse is set to become a restricted free agent with salary arbitration rights this summer and has a qualifying offer that’s a bit higher than his current cap hit ($1.75MM versus a $1.533MM AAV) although teams shouldn’t have any concerns about tendering him. Even though it’s his sixth NHL season, he still is two years away from being eligible for unrestricted free agency since his sophomore campaign saw him play just 11 games which is below the threshold of 40 to accrue a season of service time.
With only a handful of teams currently well out of the playoff picture, it could be a seller’s market as a result leading up to the March 21st trade deadline. That’s great news for those selling teams like the Coyotes who, with Crouse, appear to now have another player generating a lot of interest.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.