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The Sabres Observer

A New Draft Consolation Prize At Number Three?

Tell me if this is a player you'd like your team to get in the upcoming draft:

A big-bodied power winger with the ability to physically dominate, making him a prominent forechecking presence every night. Possesses good hands that can be used to make crisp passes or to let loose accurate, NHL-level shots; paired with his strength and skating ability, his skill set allows him to contribute offensively, as well as create space for teammates.

Sign me up.  How can we get that guy?

Well, ISS (International Scouting Services) Hockey just released its latest 2015 Top 30 Draft Rankings, and that description was taken right from the Elite Hockey Prospects page of the highest ranked player not named McDavid or Eichel.

Thanks to a strong showing for Canada in the World Juniors, he may have just replaced Noah Hanifin as the top consolation prize for the team slotted third in the McDavid/Eichel draft.  His name is Lawson Crouse.

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The Sabres currently sit 28th in the NHL, and there's been some talk about whether or not they should take Hanifin if they draft third.  We know there are already some good young propects on the Buffalo blue line -- some of them so good that they're already playing top-4 minutes here.

At 6'4", 211 lbs., Crouse's size is eye-opening for a 17-year-old.  And he's still growing -- he's gotten an inch taller and 11 pounds heavier since his Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) club released its roster at the start of the season.

But there is some debate about whether or not the London, Ontario native can be an elite goal scorer at the NHL level.  His 27 goals and 43 points in 87 career games at Kingston aren't jaw-dropping numbers.

A recent Sportsnet piece on Crouse revealed that his nickname is "The Sheriff" because he sticks up for his teammates.  That could mean he'll be the next Milan Lucic, or it could mean he'll be the latest and greatest third-line forward who puts up a dozen goals a season and is respected around the NHL for sticking up for his teammates.

With so much talent at the top of this draft, the Sabres can't afford to swing and miss on offensive ability if they choose to go with a forward.  With the third pick, would they pass up a Dylan Strome or Mathew Barzal and opt for more size?  That will be the deliberation surrounding Crouse as we approach the big day on June 26th.

dd@kuklaskorner.com

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: "lawson+crouse", "noah+hanifin", nhl+draft+prospects

Comments

OlderThanChelios's avatar

A recent Sportsnet piece on Crouse revealed that his nickname is “The Sheriff” because he sticks up for his teammates. That could mean he’ll be the next Milan Lucic…

Well, there’s a difference between being a “sheriff” and being a douchebag nut-sack spearer. So let’s hope this kid isn’t the next Milan Lucic. grin

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/07/15 at 12:43 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Well, there’s a difference between being a “sheriff” and being a douchebag nut-sack spearer. So let’s hope this kid isn’t the next Milan Lucic. grin

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/07/15 at 11:43 AM ET

QFT.  No truer words spoken.

But we do have a kid at WMU who did have the nickname “The Sheriff” in the USHL:  Mike McKee.  All 6’5”, 240lbs of him.

And I can’t wait to see him in GR and eventually with the Varsity.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 01/07/15 at 02:30 PM ET

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]