Grading Cole Caufield's season

Caufield entered the 2023-24 season coming off shoulder surgery and expectations were high.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The lone player on the Montreal Canadiens who can find twine from all around the offensive zone is Cole Caufield.

Because of his reputation and the fact that he has dominated at every level, except for the NHL, many believed that he was going to hit 50 this past season. It didn't happen for Caufield, but that doesn't mean that he didn't have a great year. I think it's safe to say Caufield had the best season of his career, for reasons besides his goal-scoring prowess.

Caufield's 200-foot game grew in leaps and bounds and if there were ever questions about his commitment to playing hard on both sides of the puck, he answered them. His increased effort on the defensive side of the puck earned him a lot of scoring chances, which is why his assist output climbed. The fact that he developed his playmaking game also helped, but the increase in chances was largely because of his strong efforts to win puck battles and defend well.

Nick Suzuki's goal total increased in a big way and his willingness to shoot the puck more was a big factor, but Caufield playing the passer role made Suzuki's life easier. Suzuki was just two goals shy of 35 and Caufield managed to come within two of the 30-goal mark. While that can be seen as disappointing, I think that is fuel for both players to show everybody that they haven't reached their ceilings yet.

A 65-point season is nothing to scoff at, but in my opinion, it is a stepping stone in Caufield's ascension to become one of the elite point producers in the NHL. I can't necessarily say that 100 points are on the horizon for him or Suzuki next year, but with an improved power play percentage, there may be a good chance that at least one of them reaches the century mark. I would bet on it being Caufield, but Suzuki continues to get better.

Though it was Caufield's best season of his career, there is significant room for growth and for that reason I will give him a B+ grade. Not because I don't think he played well, but because I believe that he will continue to elevate him game even higher.