Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse is more valuable to the Coyotes present and future then the team realizes. Crouse’s role on this team reminds me of what Marcus Foligno is to the Minnesota Wild. Both large players, Crouse is 6’4 215 lbs and Foligno is 6’3 226 lbs, they each bring toughness, hitting, and big goals to their respective clubs.
Similar statistically to Foligno, last season Crouse put up career numbers while playing on an inferior Coyotes team. Crouse scored 20 goals, had 14 assists, 34 points and 181 hits in only 65 games. His season was cut short when he broke his hand blocking a shot.
Foligno also had a career year, scoring 23 goals, 19 assists, 42 points, and 238 hits in 74 games. Foligno did benefit from playing on the Wild and also played 11 more games than Crouse. The similarities between the two are pretty uncanny, though Foligno is five years Crouse’s senior but is just as much a leader in the locker room.
Crouse should be wearing an ‘A’.
The Wild found success in recent seasons due in part to the effectiveness of their third line , otherwise known at the GREEF line (An acronym for Greenway-Eriksson Ek-Foligno). This line is big, hits hard, and wears down the opposition’s top players.
They also score, a lot.
The Arizona Coyotes need to take this idea and run with it.
The addition of Nick Bjugstad at center now gives them the LANICH (Lawson Crouse-Nick Bjugstad-Christian Fischer) line. The combination of these three big guys can overpower teams, wear down top lines, and score dirty goals. This line will set the tone in games or settle things down after the other team scores. They have the ability to change the momentum of the game, as the GREEF line does for the Wild.
This combination also provides the Coyotes with some much needed secondary (or hopefully tertiary) scoring outside of Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz.
Crouse is an arbitration eligible restricted free agent. He has two more years of NHL service before the would hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. The Coyotes need to lock him up long-term. At just 25 years old, Crouse is just coming into his game and in two years will be a highly sought after forward that could be one of the missing pieces to any club looking to contend.
So why not us?
The Coyotes have issued a qualifying offer to Crouse. Both parties are interested in a long-term deal (around 5 years) but are off on the dollar amounts. The Coyotes do need to not overthink this, just get this deal done. Retaining Crouse is going to cost $25 million over 5-years. Put the offer on the table and move forward. He is worth every single penny of that contract. If the ‘Yotes do not lock him up, somebody else will. I would hate to see him in any other sweater, he is a Coyote, let’s keep it that way.
The team is heading in the right direction and Lawson Crouse is a big piece of the puzzle. Get this deal done Coyotes!