2004-05: Lawson played Midget AAA hockey for the Chicago Chill of the Midwest Elite Hockey League.
2005-06: Lawson was selected by the Chicago Steel in the second round of the USHL Entry Draft with the 16th overall pick before skating at the Select 17 Festival in St. Cloud, Minn. Impressing there, Lawson was selected to play for Team USA at the U18 Junior World Cup in Slovakia in August. After returning to the States, Lawson began skating for the Steel. Mid-season, Lawson was selected to skate at the USA Hockey Junior Select Camp to determine the roster for the Viking Cup. Lawson was not selected to play at the Viking, however. Mid-season, Lawson suffered a concussion and later cracked two ribs, an injury which he played through and contributed to only scoring 1 goal and 4 assists in 53 games.
Lawson was one of the most talented defenseman in the USHL in 2005-06, as far as raw skill is concerned. At 6’3 and nearly 225 pounds, Lawson still has excellent mobility and uses his speed and agility to skate the puck. To no surprise, Lawson has a hard point shot, but he can also stickhandle well, if not too much at times. Lawson has all of the raw skills to become a strong puckmoving defenseman, he just needs to learn to read the play and utilize his teammates better.
Defensively, a blueliner with Lawson’s size and mobility can be dominant. Like his offensive awareness, Lawson must improve his defensive awareness, but he won’t even be 18 until a four days after the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Lawson can lay out some big hits, but he could afford to squat lower and get more thrust when he makes hits. Lawson’s skating stride would hint that he has sufficient leg strength to do so. If he does start getting more power into his hits, he could become an imposing physical force.
Despite his stats, Lawson probably has the best mixture of size and skill amongst all young USHL defenseman, he just has to learn to utilize all of his tools.