The Florida Panthers drafted Lawson Crouse with the No. 11 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and it appeared he’d play a pivotal role in their future as a big, strong power forward.
Well, he’ll never even play a game for the Panthers.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Thursday that the Panthers and Arizona Coyotes are working on a trade that would involve Crouse and veteran center Dave Bolland.
Dumping Bolland’s contract would be a huge plus for Florida. He’s barely a fourth-line-caliber player and has battled plenty of injuries since signing a five-year, $27.5 million deal that began in the 2014-15 campaign. It was a bad contract the minute it became official, but Florida would be off the hook in this deal and have some salary cap flexibility, although it would come at a decently high cost.
Crouse drew mixed reviews leading up to the 2015 draft. Scouts loved his potential, mainly because of his size and punishing play, while analytics people and other smart analysts pointed out his offensive flaws and lack of scoring against weaker competition. He tallied just 62 points in 49 games for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs last season.
The Coyotes can afford to take on Bolland’s contract given their position below the cap. They’d also add an intriguing prospect in Crouse to an already impressive pipeline of forward prospects, headlined by 2015 No. 3 overall pick Dylan Strome.
This could be a win-win trade for both teams.
Thumbnail photo via James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports Images