Five X-Factors For The 2024-25 Montreal Canadiens

Kirby Dach and Kaiden Guhle would be the two honourable mentions; as they are on the cusp of being as impactful as the five players mentioned. But leaving them off the list, speaks to the make up of the Habs roster.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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Cole Caufield

Cole Caufield
Carolina Hurricanes v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Cole Caufield is the lone player on the Canadiens with the potential to score 50 goals. At every level he has played, he has proven adept at making defenders look silly, before devastating goaltenders with his quick and accurate release. The way he can find prime ice in the attacking zone and strike in an instant is rare, very few players can do that.

This season has been somewhat of a surprise, Caufield has been healthy all year, but still, he remains on pace to narrowly miss out on matching his 26 goals from the 2022-23 campaign. He isn't playing poorly, nor is he reluctant to fire the puck, the bounces just haven't gone his way. On Tuesday night he scored his 21st goal of the season, started with a slick play by Slafkovsky.

He has focused largely on his play away from the puck and his ability to stop zone exits and create turnovers with a smart poke check is proof that he is buying in. Caufield has also shown a bit of grittiness, challenging defenders along the boards with a hit or pinning them and trying to force the puck out of the scrum. Caufield's playmaking has been impressive this season though, and Suzuki has benefitted from some very nice plays.

Even without Caufield scoring at the rate that many would expect him to, the top line has been effective nearly every night. And his compete level and drive to improve remain a constant in his game; a positive sign that he will find his old scoring ways. It isn't ideal that he hasn't scored like everyone would hope, but it is encouraging that his game away from the puck has improved and he is still effective on the ice in other facets of the game.

The Canadiens have found other ways to score, but Caufield getting back to his scoring ways next would be a huge plus for the team. For that reason, he is a definite X Factor for the 2024-25 season. Montreal needs goals and Caufield was drafted because he is one of the best at scoring.