Arbitration will have to wait. Lawson Crouse and the Arizona Coyotes have agreed on a five-year contract extension, just ahead of their arbitration hearing that was scheduled for today. The deal will carry an average annual value of $4.3MM. Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports has the full breakdown:
- 2022-23: $3.6MM
- 2023-24: $4.6MM
- 2024-25: $4.6MM
- 2025-26: $4.8MM
- 2026-27: $3.8MM
The two sides had exchanged arbitration figures over the weekend, with the Coyotes filing for $2.5MM and Crouse asking for a $4.0MM contract. That would have been a one or two-year deal, which is why the number crept a bit higher as the two sides agreed on a long-term solution. General manager Bill Armstrong released a short statement:
We are very pleased to sign Lawson to a long-term contract. He is a big, strong, skilled power forward and we look forward to him being a big part of our future.
Crouse, 25, still had two years of restricted free agency left, meaning this contract is buying out three UFA seasons for the power forward. He’s coming off his first 20-goal season, one in which he was an impressive blend of size, physicality, and scoring touch. Those 20 goals and 34 points came in just 65 games, along with his 181 hits.
Originally selected 11th overall by the Florida Panthers in 2015, Crouse was part of the trade that sent Dave Bolland’s LTIR-bound contract to the desert in 2016. Since then, he has played in 346 games for the Coyotes, scoring 56 goals and 110 points.
While those numbers don’t jump off the page, he did experience a solid improvement this season and is the kind of power-skill mix that is difficult to find in today’s NHL. He’ll join Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz as the only Arizona players who are signed for more than three years, and slides in as one of the team’s building blocks moving forward.
The team still has Barrett Hayton to sign as a restricted free agent, but otherwise looks rather set for the upcoming season. Arizona does still have close to $20MM in cap space, meaning they can continue to use that room to acquire more futures for the rest of the summer, if the opportunity arises.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet was first to break the news on Twitter.