Player Profile: Nathan Lawson

Nathan Lawson (GL, 6’2, DOB 1983, undrafted, Capgeek: 600k/105k)
2009-10 AHL Bridgeport 19-9-2 2.52 .922
2010-11 AHL Bridgeport 16-16-3 2.90 .913
2010-11 NHL Islanders 1-4-2 4.06 .893
2011-12 AHL Hamilton 19-17-4 2.57 .914

The undrafted NCAA vet spent a year in the ECHL (mostly in Utah) before joining the Islander organisation in 2008-09.  He played with Montreal’s affiliate last year and isn’t expected to see any NHL time nor seriously challenge Robin Lehner in Binghamton.  Tim Murray said “Well, he’s a depth guy for us right now, but we know he can certainly start at the American Hockey League level. He’s put up good numbers there in the past, so he’s at least that. He’s played games in the National Hockey League. We’ve had guys in the past here who have come up in a pinch — like Robin has in the past, like Mike Brodeur has in the past — so we feel that this kid could, with a couple injuries or if we were stuck, he could come up here and help us not to lose games. That’s what we’re looking for. But the main point right now is, he could, we think he’s a real good American League goalie and could certainly start at that level if need be.”.  Justin Goldman provides a very thorough scouting report based on his NHL debut two seasons ago:

Lawson’s overall biometrics and positioning is well-suited for the NHL. He’s listed at 6-foot-2 and employs a slightly wide stance in order to appear even bigger in the crease. He plays slightly deep in his crease, but does an excellent job of challenging shooters and eliminating time and space when needed. I consider him a passive butterfly goalie with a strong sense of reading plays and pushing into pucks. He absorbs a lot of shots and has great rebound control. Another important aspect of biometrics and technique is a goalie’s balance point. Lawson’s balance is definitely further back on his heels, which lends a hand to his calm style. He has a docile demeanor in the sense he does not over-play pucks or have over-active hands. He has great patience and rarely loses balance. His low center of gravity and tremendous leg strength gives him a solid presence in the net. When looking at Lawson’s strengths, the most obvious trait is his puck moving skills. Aside from his poise, patience, rebound control and ability to challenge shooters, I liked his straight back, lateral movement and his crouching ability. On many routine saves, he moved fluidly to either side and reinforced his legs with good hand placement. He also did a good job of incorporating an active stick when making saves down low. The most visible weakness in Lawson was  dropping into the butterfly too early. Another area of weakness is overall foot speed. Because his balance point is further back on his heels and he’s a passive goalie, he will need to work on actively engaging his inside edges and getting quicker at his overall butterfly recovery if he wants to thrive in the NHL. The final area of weakness at the NHL level is his inability to rotate his hips while down in the butterfly. This is an important aspect of keeping the lower portion of the ice sealed when giving up a rebound and effectively sliding laterally on his knees. Instead of rotating his hips and then pushing, he would try to recover to his feet, which brought his knees off the ice and eroded his perfect balance.

There is a lot of insight here, but I think I can sum it up by saying: he’s a solid AHL goaltender, but clearly not an NHL goaltender.  He’s another example of just how much quality minor league goaltending exists–Bryan Murray has never struggled to find solid free agents to fill that need.

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2 Comments

  1. […] Player Profile: Nathan Lawson […]

  2. […] unique set of Finnish visitors came to the site the other day reading my ancient Nathan Lawson profile from four years ago.  Someone (“Rinksu”) on the HPK end of the Jatkoaika […]


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