When it comes to goal-scorers in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft pool, look no further than Cole Caufield.
Charted by many assessments as the top sniper and offensive prospect in the draft, the Stevens Point native is one of the most electric scorers around. He, like Jack Hughes and many others, is a United States Development project.
Caufield has been nothing less than offensive dynamo in most game situations, but there’s a “problem.”
Caufield is 5’7, 163 pounds. And if you don’t think he’s aware of how much that matters to NHL squads, think again.
“I wouldn’t mind being taller, but I’m not going to regret being small because I do feel it’s worked in my favor,” Caufield said. “In my opinion, I would be considered a higher pick than I am right now if I had a couple more inches, but I’m not going to complain or get mad that I don’t have it because I’ve kind of dealt with it my whole life.”
Indeed, the winger said that his height was among the subjects at the NHL Scouting Combine and that’s going to leave a mark that could pop his Friday draft position down a few pegs.
Still, few can score like Caufield.
Here’s a dude who put up a single-season record in the development program this season by scoring 72 goals. Here’s a dude who’s the all-time leader in the program with 126 goals over 123 games in two seasons.
Passing on Cole Caufield is, to be kind, not a great idea.
And truthfully, it’s hard to imagine he’ll slip that far down in the draft order. Some projections have him going around seventh overall, right in that Buffalo Sabres spot. He’d be a nice fit for them, too, and his speedy, smooth skating would help them out in all three zones.
Caufield is an explosive, transition player who picks up the play in his own end and doesn’t leave a lot to chance. He’s got an accurate shot he can pull off in tight and his balance is impeccable, which puts him in position to stickhandle well.
Caufield has experience playing at high levels and has skated with Hughes and Trevor Zegras. He shone in their spotlight and created opportunities all his own, which says something about his tenacity and overall ability to find twine. And while size is an issue…
“The thing with Cole is he’s so much more than just a goal scorer,” Zegras said. “It’s really underrated and hard to find a guy who has such a knack for finding those open loose pockets. He’s unbelievable on the power play, his speed is really underrated and he’s a great teammate, so if you’re passing up on him because of his size, you’ll regret it in the future.”
(Lead photo credit: Rena Laverty/USNTDP)