The Montreal Canadiens top prospect may be without a place to play in the fall. Where will he end up?
The Montreal Canadiens season continues on in the middle of August as the entire hockey world has shifted its calendar. The global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has the entire world turned upside down and the biggest hockey league in the world was not immune to its wrath.
For the first time ever, we are watching the Habs play playoff hockey in August. (If feels like the first time in a decade we have seen playoff hockey at all, but it has only been three years.
When the NHL season is thrown into chaos, the smaller leagues are likely to be impacted as much, if not more. That has definitely been the case worldwide. The NHL plans to finish its 2019-20 season by playing through August and through September as well. This will push back the 2020-21 schedule, that would normally begin in early October, back to a late November or early December start.
That is a minor inconvenience compared to other leagues. First of all, most leagues were not able to crown a 2020 champion at all. The NHL will do that later than usual, but the AHL, ECHL, all the Canadian Junior leagues and the NCAA Hockey conferences were all shut down before a winner could be declared.
Their 2020-21 season will also be negatively affected. While no one has officially cancelled anything for next season yet, everything has been pushed back. The AHL won’t play before December, neither will the WHL or OHL. The QMJHL plans an October 1 start, which is a few weeks later than usual. Due to school registration in Quebec, players are usually at training camp in the QMJHL by now, with preseason games starting around this time, so an October 1 start is a slight delay.
The biggest question hangs around the NCAA. This virus seems to be hitting the United States especially hard right now, and the NCAA has already announced a few conferences won’t participate in fall sports.
This technically doesn’t include hockey, but the Big Ten announcing it won’t have a regular college football season in September is a bad omen for winter sports as well. This would have a big impact on the Montreal Canadiens best prospect, Cole Caufield.
Caufield played in the Big Ten Conference for the Wisconsin Badgers last season. He had an exceptional freshman campaign, leading the conference in points with 24 points in 24 games. He is poised for a huge sophomore campaign, but we don’t know if that season will even take place.
If the NCAA Hockey calendar is wiped out, where does that leave Caufield? Assuming the Habs still think he isn’t quite ready for NHL duty, and he hasn’t played a game since they said that, he won’t be suiting up for the Canadiens in December.
So, where will he go if college hockey isn’t an option? Here are the three possible scenarios.