Panthers agree to entry-level contract with Lawson Crouse

Lawson Crouse was selected by the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Steve Mitchell/Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced Wednesday that the club has agreed to terms with F Lawson Crouse on a three-year, entry-level contract.

"We are very pleased to have signed Lawson to an entry-level contract," said Tallon. "Lawson is a strong, skilled and physically mature forward with good hands, who will provide us with a prominent forechecking presence each night. He was one of our best players in development camp and we are confident he can make an immediate impact on our roster, playing on one of our top lines."

Crouse, who was selected by the Florida Panthers in the first round (11th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, led the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in goals (29) and points (51), while playing in 56 games during the 2014-15 season. In 119 OHL games, the 18-year-old forward recorded 78 points (44-34—78), a +20 rating and 134 PIM.

"Lawson’s intense work ethic and his hockey sense became clearly evident at our prospects camp," said Florida Panthers Head Coach Gerard Gallant. "His strength, size and high compete level allow him to contribute offensively and make plays at both ends of the ice. He will be given every opportunity to earn a top six forward position on our roster during training camp."

In 2014-15, Crouse represented Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship, winning a Gold Medal. The youngest player on the Canadian roster, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward notched three points (1-2—3) in seven games.

The Mt. Brydges, Ontario, native led Team Canada at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament with six goals in five games. Crouse helped Canada earn a Bronze Medal in the tournament with a game-winning goal in the team’s final contest.

Crouse participated in the Panthers’ 2015 Development Camp at Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs from June 29 – July 2. He also threw out the first pitch at the Miami Marlins game on July 1.