2022 Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: #2 Cole Caufield

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When we look back on Cole Caufield’s 2021-22 season, most of us end up in the same place: blaming Dominique Ducharme. Caufield’s mismanagement actually dates back to the 2021 Stanley Cup streak when, after scoring five points in the 10 regular season games he played, Caufield was not selected to be in the lineup for the season opener. postseason. When he finally made the playoff roster, he ended up scoring 12 points in the 20 games he played.

Caufield was even sent to do a six-game stint with Laval Rocket last season to regain his confidence, scoring five points (2W, 3A) during his time there. He ended up playing for the Habs for 67 games and finished the season with 43 points (23G, 20A). Eight of those points came in the first 30 games under Ducharme, while 22 of those goals came during the second half of the season under first-time bench boss Martin St. Louis.

One question will always remain: Would Caufield have been contending for the Calder Trophy if Ducharme hadn’t messed with his confidence and style of play? Absolutely. I guess we’ll never know, but anyone who says pointing fingers isn’t legit must have some kind of special information to back up their argument that the rest of us don’t know about.

Despite Ducharme’s less-than-desirable decisions about our little winger with the infectious smile (no, not Brendan Gallagher), Caufield lands in second place in this year’s Top 25 Under 25.

elite prospects

We’ve seen coaching changes make a difference to players before, but since St. Louis took over, we’ve seen what we’ve come to expect from Caufield and more. He even gave us his first NHL hat-trick in the last game of the year.

Vote

The vote for Caufield was almost unanimous apart from Anton putting him at number one and really who can blame him for that, showing that while the first half of his season was a flop, very little blame is placed on him. to Caufield.

Top 25 Under 25 History

Making his debut in 2019, Caufield jumped straight into the top 10, rising to No. 3 the following season and, for the second year in a row, lands at No. #2 on our countdown. The young winger quickly became a fan favourite, dazzling us with his personality and impressive extra-time skills, earning the nickname Goal Caufield when he first became part of the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the 2020 season. -21, and luckily the nickname suits him. one more time.

Story of #2

Year #two
Year #two
2021 cole caufield
2020 Jesperi Kotkaniemi
2019 Jesperi Kotkaniemi
2018 Max Domi
2017 Jonathan Drouin
2016 Brendan Gallagher
2015 Brendan Gallagher
2014 Brendan Gallagher
2013 Alex Galchenyuk
2012 max pacioretty
2011 Subban PK
2010 Subban PK

Strengths

There is no doubt that Caufield’s greatest strength is his elite shot. At a low point last season, it seemed like he had lost his ability to make his sneak shots and was just shooting into the net whenever he got the chance, but once St. Louis gave their players the leeway to start thinking outside the box. and he read the play, Caufield’s confidence and underrated playmaking ability began to shine once again.

He stopped carrying the net and shooting, his creativity returned and he began to adapt to the situation. As he mixed up the game by passing more often, he began to catch opponents off guard, who were used to him always going for the shot.

The most frustrating thing about Caufield’s shot (for goalkeepers; we as spectators quite enjoy it) is his ability to shoot from all angles. He is not a one trick pony. What is the secret of him? “You have to read everything and react to what [the defence] is doing,” he said. “The holes are constantly opening up because of the way defensemen swing their sticks.”

weaknesses

Caufield’s 5’7” frame can be a problem at times. While he doesn’t stop him from moving around the ice, he does limit his ability to fight for the puck in the corners, and he has needed teammates to jump up and lend a hand on more than one occasion.

That said, Caufield has made the most of the longer summer break this time around and packed an extra five pounds of muscle on his 166-pound frame. He says that she feels pretty good about where her game and his body is right now. Those extra five kilos will no doubt come in handy to keep defenders at bay while he tries to get into position to shoot. Or maybe he will continue to keep his opponents on their toes and pass one of his lane-mates, like Suzuki…or Juraj Slafkovský.

Projection

Heading into his third year with the Canadiens and the final year of his entry-level contract, there is no doubt that the 21-year-old will be a key player in rebuilding the Canadiens. The expectation for this season is that it’s going to be fun and if they make it to the playoffs so be it (I said Yes). It’s the perfect time to gain experience and, given the right freedom and development, there’s no reason to think Caufield can’t reach the next level, especially if he stays on the front lines with his new captain. Although still a rookie, Caufield is now part of the core team and has the opportunity to step up not only on the ice but also in the locker room and show off his leadership skills to new faces.

He said that when St. Louis came aboard it was like a switch was flipped, and it was clear. He says his new trainer is “the type of person who wants to soak in everything, so whenever he’s talking or showing something on video, you’re tuned in.” We’ve all seen Caufield when he’s scored, so with the new boss behind the bench, there’s no reason to believe this lad isn’t going to have a great 2022-23 season, and I daresay possibly even a great season. .


Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal joins the podcast to talk about Cole Caufield and what he saw when Caufiled was on the Wisconsin Badgers, and the progress he made there.


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