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If Cole Caufield becomes underpaid, let’s hope he’s not unhappy (a la Max Pacioretty).
We can all agree on one thing: Cole Caufield signing an eight-year, $62.8 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens is good news for everyone.

Not having a no-movement clause is even better news for the Habs.

The reason it’s a stroke of genius is simple: goal scorers in the NHL pay for themselves. As a certain chansonnier once said: the most important thing is to put it in…

Seeing the Canadiens’ top scorer earn less than $8 million in his twenties is a good thing.

After all, let’s not forget that the Habs have set two benchmarks for their good players. If you want to earn eight million dollars, you’d better get up early and be better than Cole Caufield ($7.85M) and Nick Suzuki ($7.875M).

That puts pressure on the team.

Of course, there are other reasons why this contract is a good one. For instance? The fact that the most talented striker (with his hands) wants to be part of the adventure for eight years.

In terms of team culture, that’s a good thing.

I’m not afraid to say loud and clear that this is one of the best NHL contracts for the Habs… and that’s what forces me to ask questions from the other side, playing devil’s advocate.

What if the contract becomes too good for the Habs?

In fact, it was my colleague JB Gagné, on his podcast last night, who put the question to me. What happens if, in a few years’ time, the prolific scorer feels he’s no longer being paid enough by the club?

Could the Max Pacioretty situation, an American unhappy at being underpaid and not seeing the Habs make him better offers when it came time to talk about a contract extension, apply?

Let’s agree that I don’t think so. First of all, Caufield isn’t the club captain and doesn’t have the same pressure. He’s also younger than Pacioretty was when he signed his six-year, $4.5-million-a-year contract.

Caufield, who signed his contract with full knowledge of the facts, also has a personality that’s different from Pacioretty.

But even if he says today that he’s not thinking about money, perhaps that will change if, in a few years’ time, potential contract extension negotiations don’t work out in his favor.

Who knows where the ceiling will be by the end of the decade?

That being said, it’s important to make one important distinction between Caufield’s contract and Pacioretty’s over time, regardless of the amounts involved.

And that is? Years of service.

Let’s not forget that, when Pacioretty signed his six-year contract, he already had five years in the pros under his belt. Four out of six years, or 2/3 of the contract, were years of autonomy.

Caufield was, before signing, five years away from autonomy.

The Habs’ #22 was bought out for one year as an unarbitrated compensated free agent, four years as an arbitrated compensated free agent and three years as an unrestricted autonomous player.

It’s only natural that the first five years should bring the price down. It’s also normal in this respect that Nick Suzuki, who was bought four years of complete autonomy, should be paid more.

In Suzuki’s case, he was four years away from becoming an uncompensated autonomous player when he got his extension. The Habs therefore had one less year of autonomy to buy with Cole, compared to Nick.

That’s a lot of dollars. – Pat Brisson, Cole Caufield’s agent

The combination of circumstances and the fact that Caufield really wants to be in Montreal despite the rebuilding process is a good sign for the Habs going forward.

Conclusion? I don’t see him becoming unhappy in the medium or long term. A lot can change between now and then, but circumstances are in the Habs’ favor right now.

In a gust

– Oh!

– What a great player.

– The Panthers are playing poorly. [BPM Sports]

– That’s a good one.

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