With their scheduled arbitration hearing now 48 hours away, the Coyotes and winger Lawson Crouse have exchanged their requested awards. The gap, as it almost always is, is sizable, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that Arizona has submitted a $2.5MM figure and Crouse has come in with a $4MM request.
The 25-year-old is coming off of a career season, one that saw him post 20 goals and 14 assists despite missing 17 games mostly due to a hand injury. Crouse also received a sizable jump in playing time for his efforts as head coach Andre Tourigny increased his ice time by more than three minutes a game compared to 2020-21 as he logged 17:26 per game. It’s also worth noting that Crouse led the Coyotes in hits for the fourth straight season with 181.
Power forwards with some offensive ability are hard to find in the NHL and often get more than expected on their contracts as a result. Those types of deals are often done closer to the player becoming UFA-eligible and Crouse is still a couple of years away from that threshold so the timing for such a move isn’t quite right. To that end, it’s notable that both sides asked for a one-year award, fully knowing the big negotiation is probably a year away.
No matter what happens with this negotiation (or hearing if it makes it that far), Crouse will be in line for a considerable raise after playing on a bridge deal that carried a $1.533MM AAV for each of the last three seasons. The two sides will have until the start of the hearing on Monday to negotiate a settlement but once that hearing starts, the arbitrator will have the final say on what Crouse’s salary for next season will be.