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‘I’ll have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder for those teams that passed on me’: Cole Caufield’s whirlwind summer

As he prepares for his season at the University of Wisconsin, Caufield talks about his first NHL experience.

NHL: JUN 28 Montreal Canadiens Development Camp Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If Montreal Canadiens fans are going to seek out every goal that Caufield scores, they better get comfortable. It may be excitement over the newest top prospect in the organization, and it could be due to it being the first hockey we have seen in months but Caufield’s four goals in two exhibition games had Canadiens buzzing already.

The buzz started from the time of the NHL Draft in June. Canadiens fans watching the draft unfold were reacting like the team’s draft table in their draft video: Counting players, counting picks remaining, and hoping that someone would take the goalie.

At the team’s development camp, Caufield received an ovation every time he touched the puck but it was especially loud when he went out for his first shootout attempt.

“It was a little bit of nerves. I didn’t want to disappoint them. So I’m glad I got the puck to go in.”

Of course he got the puck to go in. There may not be another prospect in the 2019 NHL Draft who is better at getting the puck to go in than Caufield. It’s what made him a top prospect despite his small stature. But even then, he went a little later than most people expected him to go, leaving the Canadiens a very happy organization.

“Obviously, I’m kind of disappointed with how long it took,” Caufield said. “But I couldn’t have been happier with the spot I got to be picked. It’s a great place here. I’m going to fit right in here. I have no disappointments on where where I ended up, but yeah, I’d say I’ll have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder for those teams that passed on me.

“I already love this organization. I’m really happy to be part of it,” he said. “The guys that have played here and made history here... Every time I walk in here, my jaw drops, it’s just a surreal feeling like no other,” he said about the team’s development camp.

He also made an impression on his teammates, including Ryan Poehling, who played a few shifts with Caufield at development camp.

“He’s fast, he’s real good out of the corners too,” Poehling said, adding that the first three strides allows a player to separate themselves in tight spots, and can give a smaller player an advantage. “I realized any anytime he’s in the offensive zone he’s looking to shoot whether it’s from the corner or the greatest scoring chance he’s looking to score.”

Caufield won’t be at the team’s rookie camp, but the team will continue to keep an eye at him while he’s at the University of Wisconsin. One person who knows what is in store for him in Madison is former Canadiennes forward and Montreal PWHPA representative Hilary Knight.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without the University of Wisconsin,” she said. “From a student athlete it’s the place you want to be. It’s a magical place. Being able to learn from the Granato family, Cole’s in really good hands there. It’s got such a rich history.”

Aside from Caufield and Jack Gorniak, who is entering his second season at the school, Canadian Olympian and former Wisconsin Badger Emily Clark is also heading to Montreal.

“The Wisco-Montreal paths are intersecting right now,” Knight said.