When we looked at Cole Caufield’s highlights with the U.S. program and then with the University of Wisconsin, we realized that no team was able to adjust to his receiving shot from the left circle.
In the NHL, it’s quite the opposite as not only have teams adjusted to the habs’ small forward, but this season in particular, it’s much harder for Caufield. He’s just one goal shy of 5-on-4, and that’s starting to get worrisome.
– Eric Engels (@EricEngels) December 20, 2023
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels analyzed the situation in his latest article. He shows that improving the power play will require unlocking Caufield’s shot. He spoke to Mike Matheson, who painted an excellent picture of the situation.
The other four players have to be threatening, so the opposition has to worry less about Caufield. I’m going to focus on two in particular: Sean Monahan and Juraj Slafkovsky.
Monahan plays the role of “bumper” on the power play. He needs to be a threat when the Tricolore is exploiting the bottom of the zone. He’s excellent at completing shot-passing plays, but he needs to attack the opposing goalie more to try and catch him off guard. This would undoubtedly attract closer coverage from the defenders towards the net.
For his part, Slafkovsky’s shot needs to become a threat to opposing goalkeepers. He has a good one, but doesn’t use it enough on the power play. He’s capable of skilful passing, but in his position, he must ultimately be used as bait so that the defenders concentrate on stopping him to free up the team’s best free-kicker.
Finally, Caufield must find a way to give himself a better shooting line. For a while, he managed to outwit defenders with a feint shot followed by a quick throw. The defenders adjusted and it might be time to go back to the source and take the shot, even if there’s a defender in front of him.
Caufield himself suggested this on half a joke to Engels, but it’s not a bad idea.
– Big win for the Rocket.
– Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) December 21, 2023
– The Habs alumnus finds his feet again.
Joel Edmundson scores his first Capitals goal with a powerful slap shot pic.twitter.com/hVrBDPjtjP
– TVA Sports (@TVASports) December 21, 2023
– It has the merit of being clear.
– RDS (@RDSca) December 21, 2023