Why we shouldn't bet against Cole Caufield

Yes Cole Caufield scored far less than we all hoped he would, but no he isn't suddenly less of a goal scorer.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Cole Caufield was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens for many reasons, at the top of the list are his abilities in the offensive zone, led by his pin-point accurate shot.

The velocity and speed at which he gets it off his blade put him in the elite tier of NHL scorers, despite what many may think after a season where his pace slowed. His surgery was a success and there aren't any lingering problems, but it felt like he was adjusting to his newly repaired shoulder. He did improve on his career best of 26 goals in 2022-23, posting 28 goals this year.

Caufield still shot at a high rate, but many of his shots lacked a little zip or were fired wide. The ones he put on the net were right where he labelled them to go and left little doubt that he can still score from all over the offensive zone; in many different ways. Thanks to the strong development of his 200-foot game; there is reason to believe that Caufield will continue earning high-danger scoring chances.

Head coach Martin St. Louis did lots of work with Caufield to make his offensive game more dynamic. Whether he started throwing in a head fake or even an extra stickhandle one way before moving in the other direction for an open shot. Regardless of what he was taught, it was always about keeping the defender guessing until the last second.

If we were basing Caufield's season on the fact that he didn't score 50 goals, then sure it could be viewed as a disappointing season. But because hockey is played with just one puck, the revolutionization of his two-way game tells a much different story. Because he was coached well and put on a line with players who brought out the best in him and boosted his confidence; Caufield never appeared frustrated or discouraged.

The young core will be another year older and Kent Hughes will have another offseason to add more of his fingerprints on the roster. Most important perhaps will be Juraj Slafkovsky starting the year with sky-high confidence and Nick Suzuki coming off his best season to date. Throw in Caufield wanting to prove that he is the goalscoring threat that the Habs drafted in 2019 and the Habs have all the makings of a player whose potential for 50 goals isn't all that unreasonable.

Caufield has always scored goals and produced points, but his focus on being effective in all three zones is reason enough to believe that he will continue getting to the areas he needs to be. Because of that, it seems like a bad idea to bet against him shattering his new season high of 28 goals. His hockey IQ, especially from the opposing blueline towards the net isn't going to disappear; so I think we are all in for quite a treat in 2024-25.