Rookie Mid-Terms: Why isn't Cole Caufield scoring this season?
This is not the season most would have expected from Montréal Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield. And it can't be the season he envisioned for himself after coming off the incredible high of the last playoff run, where he scored four goals with 12 points, a few of which were exceptionally clutch and timely.
Playoff hockey is supposed to be harder than regular season hockey. Goals don't come as easily, but Caufield managed to put up four of them. They were not lucky bounces. Each of them required quick and difficult reads.
The comfort Caulfield showed playing spring hockey suggested that he would hit the ground running in his first complete season in the league, that he would pick up right where he left off.
Like many others, I was optimistic about his rookie season in my Montréal prospect pool rankings. Even with the disclaimer that one shouldn't put too much pressure on him, I called a 30-goal season realistic for him, or at least well within his reach.
Such a season is now out of his reach.
At the midpoint of the season, as Montréal just hit the bottom of the standings, Caufield has just one goal on his stat sheet.
One. Single. Goal.
It's hard to wrap your mind around this number. In hindsight, the predictions were too optimistic. But while rookie seasons tend to go in all sorts of directions, few could have predicted only one goal in 26 games.
For such a proven scorer at lower levels, it seems bizarre and worthy of an investigation.
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