Second ranked U24 Habs player - Cole Caufield

Cole Caufield didn't score at the rate that he might believe he is capable of. But he posted career-bests in points, assists and goals. All in all, it was a solid year to build on.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

For the month of May, aside from the NHL Draft lottery, there isn’t much going on. So here at A Winning Habit, I’ve decided to rank the 24 best Canadiens under 24 years old. I opted to rank players that are closest to the NHL, so aside from David Reinbacher, there are no 2023 Draftees. 

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead with the 2nd best player, in my opinion, Cole Caufield.

Cole Caufield entered the season fresh off shoulder surgery, so it’s safe to say he is hot under his collar to get started. Unfortunately he didn’t start off the way he hoped, whether it be from gripping his stick too tight or overthinking. Caufield had plenty of scoring chances, but many went wide or straight into the goaltender; much to his frustration. 

But it wasn’t a waste of a season, while Caufield tried to shake off the cobwebs he kept busy in other ways. For example, he started to hone in on his defensive deficiencies, which proved important for his growth. Oftentimes this season, because of his encouraging two-way play he forced turnovers and created plenty of odd-man rushes. 

Thanks to Martin St. Louis’ brilliant mind, Caufield avoided dealing with any frustration. Marty challenged Caufield to improve other areas of his game. This would prove beneficial when Caufield got out of his funk because his game would have new aspects to make him a more dangerous player. 

Caufield managed to post career highs across the board, and alongside Nick Suzuki and Juraj Slafkovsky, the Habs found themselves a legitimate top line. Fifty goals is still an attainable number for him to reach, in my eyes, so the fact that he hasn’t yet, just means he isn’t finished developing. 

Fortunately for the Canadiens, they are rebuilding, so Caufield and Slafkovsky have the time to grow and improve. Meanwhile, Suzuki is almost 25, but he seems to elevate his game to a higher level with each passing season. This year the points increased, but he never sacrificed his defensive assignments to create offence. 

With the trio still improving, there is reason to believe that Caufield will develop into the goal scorer that the Canadiens have longed for. In the process he will build chemistry and find confidence in his game to create offence in various ways. Caufield ranks number two and it would be surprising if he didn’t have a brilliant season in 2024-25 and hop up to the top spot, with it vacant after Mr. No. 1 ages out.