Chris Lawrence was selected in the 1st Round, 6th overall, of the 2003 OHL Priority Draft by the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. In his rookie season at the major junior level in 2003-2004 he scored 7 goals and 13 points in 62 games. The following year, playing on a line with Flyers first round pick Jeff Carter, Lawrence improved to 11 goals and 51 points in 68 games. At season's end he was ranked the 38th best North American skater by the NHL Central Scouting Service and he was selected by the Lightning in the 3rd round, 89th overall, of the June 2005 draft. In the Fall, Lawrence attended his first Traverse City Prospect Tournament where he was held scoreless in 4 games. Lawrence's disappointing performance at Traverse City foreshadowed a slow start for his season with the Greyhounds and after 29 games, in which he scored just 3 goals and 17 points, he was traded to the Mississauga Ice Dogs. With the Dogs, Lawrence found his stride scoring 20 goals for Mississauga in 38 games, just 1 less than his entire junior career goal totals prior to the trade, and 36 points in 38 games. In 67 total games, Lawrence scored 23 goals and 53 points with 91 penalty minutes in the 2005-2006 season. In 2006-2007 Lawrence exploded for 47 goals and 88 points in 64 games with Mississauga while also compiling a +29 rating and 113 penalty minutes. Lawrence also posted 3 goals and 4 points in 5 playoff games as the Ice Dogs were upset in the first round of the OHL playoffs.
The Lightning signed Lawrence to a standard three year entry level contract on May 31, 2007 and he will likely begin his pro career in the Fall with Norfolk of the AHL.