Lawrence was regarded as a solid draft prospect for good reason -- quite simpley, he possesses first/second round size and skills. His 40 assists in 2004-2005 were largely due to Carter, but Lawrence is an adequate passer in his own right. Many questioned his high-upside skills after the slow start to 2005-2006, but Lawrence responded to the trade to Mississauga and increased offensive responsibilities with 20 goals in under a half of a season. Most importantly, Lawrence's approach changed for the better as he was more aggressive offensively, including looking to shoot more. He also showed good effort in Mississauga, getting involved in the game physically. Scouts and fans have been waiting for Lawrence to become the sum of all his parts, and perhaps the trade to Mississauga was the key to unlocking his potential.
Lack of consistency and work ethic are two traits that have followed Lawrence around the OHL in his young career like a black cloud. Such expectations come with being a top-10 OHL pick and being compared to Carter. It was thought with the departure of Carter to Philadelphia of the NHL that Lawrence would take the bull by the horns and lead the Sault back to the playoffs. However, Lawrence underachieved badly before the trade. Because of his strong finish to the 2005-2006 season with the Ice Dogs, perhaps that black cloud is starting to clear. Lawrence must continue to put his game together, becoming the sum of his parts. He must also work on his average skating ability. As he matures in a leadership role in the OHL, he will get every opportunity to make himself a steal for the Lightning in the third round. Fans must be patient with the big centerâ€™s development, but hold him accountable for his approach to the game. Hopefully weâ€™ve seen the last of that cloud.
Lawrence has second-line upside. With the Lightning, he will go as far as his work ethic can take him. He has the raw skills to make it to the NHL and has often been compared to former Philadelphia first rounder Ryan Carter.