By: George Potter
From being a part of the USA’s World Junior Championship team, Hobey Baker award winner, and to being called up from the AHL’s Laval Rocket. The Kid from Stevens Point (Wisconsin), Cole Caufield, has had a great year and has shown a lot of potential for the Montreal Canadiens future after only playing 10 games. For Habs fans, this could be a bright future for the franchise, despite Caufield being scratched in game 1 and 2 in their playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After a remarkable season with the University of Wisconsin Badgers, Caufield was awarded the Hobey Baker award after scoring 30 goals and 52 points in 31 games. Following this, he was assigned to the Laval Rocket where he was able to score 3 goals and 5 points in his first two professional games.
His performance would eventually lead to him being called up to the Montreal Canadiens. He was able to play his first game against the Calgary Flames where he would be up against Forward Johnny Gaudreau who was a previous Hobey Baker winner in 2014. The team ended off with a victory 2-1, where Caufield did not score a point.
Caufield was able to score first ever NHL career goal against the Ottawa Senators in Overtime with the final score being 3-2 assisted by forward Tyler Toffoli, and defenseman Jeff Petry. The next game against the Toronto Maple Leafs Caulfield would once again score the game winner in overtime.
Despite the Canadiens losing the second game against the leafs on May 6. 2021 by a score of 5-2, Caufield was able to score a goal in the second period after receiving an assist from Corey Perry and Eric Staal.
In the final game of the regular season against the Oilers, Caufield was able to score unassisted in the first period. In addition he was able to help the Candiens tie the game by assisting Nick Suzuki's goal to tie the game at 3-3. However, the Oilers would bounce back and win the game in Overtime.
The Montreal Canadiens head coach Domineque Ducharme made the decision to scratch Caufield, along with other young players such as forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and defensman Alexander Romanov for Game 1 of the playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Dercheme was quoted in the Toronto Star where he wanted to put young players like Caufield, Romanov, and Kotkanemi out of the lineup for game 1, to understand what needs to be done in order to succeed.
“One thing is they all know what the plan is, they know what we want to do. It’s about right now at the moment, game 1, one game,” said Dercheme in a quote in the Toronto Star.
Although there has not been much said about if Caufield will be able to play throughout the series beyond game 1 he has a big test ahead of him in this matchup between the Habs' old rivalry. Montreal is currently tied in the playoff series 1-1.