Montreal Canadiens Top Prospect Cole Caufield Leads Conference in Scoring as a Freshman

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: Cole Caufield (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: Cole Caufield (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens knew they drafted a talented player when they selected Cole Caufield last June. Some had doubts he could keep up his scoring at the NCAA level but he has proven any doubters wrong once again.

The Montreal Canadiens drafted Cole Caufield with the 15th overall pick at the 2019 NHL Draft. There was no question he was as talented and offensively gifted as most of the players taken in front of him that night. The only questions around Caufield, were about his size and whether he could keep scoring as he progressed into higher leagues.

Well, it has taken him absolutely no time to become comfortable carrying the puck, stickhandling around defenders, firing rocket wrist shots over goaltenders and dominating offensively in college hockey.

Caufield stepped into the Wisconsin Badgers lineup and was an offensive force from the drop of the first puck. He scored twice in each of the team’s first three games of the season and consistently brought offence all year long. The Badgers just wrapped up their final regular season weekend with a pair of wins over Ohio State. Caufield finished the season with 36 points in 34 games.

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The Badgers had high hopes as a team in the Big Ten Conference, but struggled to keep the puck out of their own net while Caufield was filling the other team’s goal with pucks. They finished last in the seven team conference, but with a pair of assists on the weekend, Caufield jumped to first in the conference in scoring.

College hockey keeps rankings and statistics separately for total games played and also games played within the team’s conference. There is a strong emphasis on playing games within one’s own conference and in those games, Caufield scored 11 goals and 24 points in 24 games. The Big Ten Conference is a deep pool of teams with Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan all having hopes of going deep in the national championships. Minnesota, Michigan State and Notre Dame also have tough teams as well.

This makes Caufield’s point per game pace against his own conference even more impressive. His team struggled to get wins all year long, but this undersized first year college player was outscoring the most experienced players in the area.

Though the Badgers finished last in the standings, they finished the season strong, winning five of their last six games. This past weekend, they took down the Ohio State Buckeyes twice, and will travel back to Ohio State next week for the first round of the Big Ten playoffs.

If the Badgers lose the best two of three series that takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Ohio State, their season will be over. If they can win twice again there next weekend like they just did on Friday and Saturday night, they will move on to the conference semi-finals against Penn State who is ranked 7th in the country.

It is possible the Badgers go on a run through the Big Ten Conference playoffs. It is more likely that their season is about to end soon. When it does, Caufield is free to sign with the Canadiens if he and the team wish. Bergevin recently mentioned he does not plan on rushing Caufield to the NHL, and that he will try to convince the prospect to stay at Wisconsin for another year. If he doesn’t want to stay in school, he could sign and then report to the Laval Rocket.

The Rocket are in the midst of a playoff race at the moment. They have 17 games remaining and are three points back of the final playoff spot in the North Division. They just got Jesse Ylonen to move to Laval from Finland and could add another scoring right winger in Caufield soon.

dark. Next. What does Ylonen bring to the Rocket?

If they do sign Caufield, don’t be surprised if he proves to be an offensive force immediately. He has done it at every level. He transitioned to the NCAA this season with no issue and dominated on a mediocre team. There is no reason to believe he will struggle when he joins the Laval Rocket. We could find out for sure very soon.