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Cole Caufield: originally, his clan didn’t want to sign for eight years
Credit: Without the pressure of winning, he was able to let his game speak for itself on the ice.
On Monday morning, Cole Caufield and the Canadiens made Montreal very happy by announcing that they had agreed on the terms of a contract that would keep the young forward in town for the next eight years.

Colleague Charles-Alexis Brisebois was on the case at the time of the announcement.

In my eyes, this is a good thing for the Tricolore. A salary of less than $8 million a year for eight years for a guy who has the potential to score 50 goals a year in the NHL is a bet I’ll take 11 times out of 10.

Add to that the fact that he likes it here in town and is a crowd favorite, and it’s a good deal not only for the CH, but also for the principal interested party, who gets a very nice sum of money.

That said, in reality, there’s a world in which Caufield doesn’t sign for eight years. In fact, at the start of negotiations, Pat Brisson was mainly aiming for a five- or six-year pact, which would have led Caufield to full autonomy more quickly.

That’s what Pierre LeBrun revealed in today’s paper.

For the Tricolore, however, it was imperative that he sign an eight-year contract, especially to avoid a “Matthew Tkachuk” situation. As LeBrun notes, just because Caufield likes it in the city right now doesn’t mean he always will, so in the worst-case scenario, the CH buys itself time and won’t have to trade him in the medium term if he wants to play in the U.S.

And beyond that, it’s a good move on the part of the CH to have signed him at such a high price in the current market. With the salary cap set to rise significantly over the next few years, the value of these guys will increase over time.

In a few years, maybe a guy like Caufield will be worth at least $9 or $10 million a year. But for the next eight seasons, the Tricolore will have him for less than $8 million a year, which has the potential to be a real bargain.

Obviously, Caufield’s contract involves a certain amount of risk. It’s a very long commitment for a guy who’s only played 123 games in the NHL so far, but considering he was ready to agree to an eight-year deal with the Tricolore, it’s a gamble worth taking.

And that’s even truer when you consider that he’s an American player playing in a Canadian market. Often, you have to overpay to keep these guys, but in the CH’s case, we were able to keep the young forward for the (very) long term, and at a more than reasonable salary.

In my opinion, the Tricolore was right to insist on an eight-year contract. They may have paid a little more than they would have for a five- or six-year pact, but they bought themselves some time, and with the salary cap set to rise, the pact could quickly become a bargain if he scores 40-50 goals a year for the next eight seasons.

Well done to Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton, then.

In bursts

– It’s understandable.

– That’s one way of looking at it.

– Yvon Pedneault wonders if the Blue Jackets might trade their third overall pick. [BPM Sports]

– Nice read.

– Wow.

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