First-round picks aren’t safe today. After the New York Islanders sent Josh Ho-Sang to Bridgeport earlier, the Arizona Coyotes have similarly sent Lawson Crouse to the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners, according to the league’s transaction page. This could be preempting the activation of Brendan Perlini from the injured reserve list, as the young forward has been travelling with the team and is very close to a return.
Crouse of course wasn’t a first-round pick of the Coyotes, instead coming from the Florida Panthers in a 2016 trade. The Coyotes acquired the 20-year old in exchange for eating all of Dave Bolland’s contract. Crouse had been selected 11th-overall just a year prior, but apparently was deemed expendable to clear some salary.
Impressively, Crouse made the Coyotes out of training camp last year and remained with the team all year. In 72 games he didn’t have the sort of debut worthy of Calder consideration, but still recorded 12 points and received a lot of NHL experience. It hasn’t paid off just yet, as he’s been held scoreless through his seven games this season. The bet on Crouse was that he would grow into a dynamic power forward in the league, as he’s built like a freight truck—6’4″ 220-lbs—and can skate well enough to play at this level. While that type of player often develops slower, Crouse carved out a role in the Coyotes’ bottom-six right away.
That role though has diminished this season, as Crouse sees just ten minutes of action a night and was even a healthy scratch for the last two. If he is ever to reach that potential, he’ll need to play a regular shift somewhere. For now, that somewhere is the AHL.