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Cole Caufield must put on his work boots and go to the pay zones
Before the start of the season, many were predicting a big season for Cole Caufield in terms of goals scored. Predicting 40 for him was almost frivolous, predicting 50 was fashion able and some even dared to predict 60.

In all cases, then, people expected him to fill the net.

The problem is, so far, it’s been harder for Caufield to score this season. The points are there (he has 20 after 28 games), but right now he’s only got seven goals on the board.

For those following at home, we’re talking about a pace of… 20.5 goals over 82 games. A far cry from the predictions made at the start of the season.

How to explain all this? In fact, there’s one thing that’s been consistent among all the people who’ve talked about him in recent hours: whether it’s Dany Dubé, Marc Denis, Pierre McGuire or Marc-Antoine Godin, the fact that he plays a little too much on the periphery (and therefore far from the pay zones) is costing him dearly.

I don’t know if it’s his shoulder that’s still making him a little afraid to stick his nose in traffic, but that’s the reality right now.

Because in concrete terms, when you look at the quantity of scoring chances, they’re there. Before today’s games, Caufield ranked ninth in the NHL for shots on goal in 2023-24, with 105 so far this year.

And when you look at the guys around him, almost all of them have at least 10 goals this season, with most having close to 15 and a few approaching 20.

In fact, apart from Matthew Tkachuk (who is obviously even less fortunate than Caufield) and Roman Josi (who is a defenseman), Caufield is a bit alone in the world.

(Credit: Screenshot/

And when you consider that Caufield’s main impact in a game is his ability to score goals, it hurts. Martin St-Louis may insist that he wants to make Caufield a better player, not a better scorer, but the fact remains that Caufield is a better player when he threads the needle.

That’s the nature of a maverick, after all.

Some of this has to do with bad luck(MoneyPuck ranks him 14th in the league among players who should have more goals than their harvest, with Josh Anderson fourth), and in any case, positive regression is to be expected: he’s not for converting just 6.7% of his shots into goals over an 82-game season.

On the other hand, if Caufield wants to break out of his torpor, he’s going to have to look for a little more quality in his scoring chances. That means putting on his work boots and going to places where his low-risk scoring chances are going to turn into high-risk scoring chances.

If he does this, and if he’s unlucky enough to be left alone for a while, things will open up pretty much eventually.

In bursts

– In any case, Auston Matthews is having no trouble scoring this year.

– It moves.

– Victor Hedman on the sidelines.

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