Cole Caufield Working On His Shot At Practice

Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

For Montreal Canadiens sniper Cole Caufield to be stuck at 19 goals; it's frustrating for his standards and despite scoring in the shootout on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, Caufield isn't pleased.

The morning after being the lone goal scorer in the shootout, Caufield took to the ice at Habs practice and was seen working on his release. Shooting around one net, aiming at both of the top corners of the net, Caufield used the first net as a screen. He hasn't scored the way he, nor anybody thought he would.

Belief was that Caufield could score at a 50-goal pace this season, after scoring 26 in an injury-shortened year in 2022-23. So his 19 goals through 59 games are underwhelming, and nobody is more aware of that than Caufield. The fact that Caufield hasn't become frustrated, but continues to play a strong 200-foot game; is a good indicator of the maturity of Caufield's game.

Caufield has been a prolific goalscorer everywhere he has played, but he hasn't put much onus on his defensive play. So, much like Juraj Slafkovsky, Caufield's offensive numbers have tapered off a bit, because of his honest, two-way play. At times he seems to overthink rather than just letting his skill take over in the offensive zone, and his work at practice shows his awareness.

Not to be mistaken for the Caufield who was coached under Dominique Ducharme, No. 22 has been good in other areas. The matter of the fact is that Caufield will find his scoring touch again, and when he does, his work away from the puck will make him a much better player. Pairing his game without the puck with his eventual re-immersion of his elite shot will be essential for the Canadiens' powerplay.

It would be worrying if he wasn't helping the team the way he has, and struggling to score. But that is not the case, and he has and will continue to earn great chances with two of the Habs' best passers - Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Both players work the puck around the zone efficiently and when Caufield is ready to start shooting more, he will continue to have great passers feeding him the puck.

Goalscorers are known to be streaky, so it isn't expected for Caufield to be a goal-per-game producer. But I don't believe that we have seen the best out of him, and I believe with a stronger powerplay, Caufield will find more success. Thankfully the powerplay will likely improve with more personnel coming over in the next couple of seasons.

The routes that Caufield takes entering the zone, and his poise and calmness with the puck open up a ton of space for his linemates. Despite not scoring as much as we hoped he would, Caufield's vision and composure with the puck on his stick have still been staples in his game. It's only a matter of time before he finds his way, and whether it be confidence or finding the right rhythm after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason, I expect that he will get back to his old ways in due time.