NHL Prospect Profile: Cole Caufield
– Cole Caufield –
USA Hockey’s NTDP | Right Wing/Center | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible
Mosinee, Wisconsin, USA | January 2, 2001 | 5-foot-6, 154-pounds
Yes, Cole Caufield stands at just 5-foot-6, but he plays the game without any fear and rarely ever lets his size be a disadvantage to his exemplary talents. The Wisconsin native played a large portion of the 2017-18 season alongside Jack Hughes and Matthew Boldy, en route to scoring 54 goals in just 59 games between the U17 and U18 teams. That mark sits just one goal shy of the record set by Auston Matthews in 2014-15.
Caufield sports a natural goal-scoring instinct, incapsulating a wicked release, creative hands, and the knack to be in the right place at the right time. He doesn’t shy away from the physical game despite his size, even throwing a couple of notable hits himself. Caufield plays each shift with a determination to help his team win, and often does so by filling the back of the net.
- Puck Skills
Cole Caufield greatest strength is undoubtedly his ability to pinch the twine. He boasts an electric release and pin-point accuracy, allowing him to beat goaltenders one-on-one with general ease. He also has the vision to read where the soft spots on the ice are going to be and the ability to quietly slip in behind defencemen to find himself time and space.
Caufield plays each shift like it’s his last, showcasing a passion and effort level that is second-to-none, often broadcasted through his exuberant celebrations. He has very quick and creative hands which allow him to make defenders and goalies alike look silly. Caufield is simply an elite goal-scorer who can turn a game on its head with a flick of his wrists.
- Defensive Awareness
Away from the flashy offensive abilities, Caufield has room to improve in the defensive zone. He sometimes gets lost or chases the puck a little too far in his own zone, and can be caught visibly thinking about transitioning to offence before his team has secured possession of the puck.
Spending the majority of his time as a winger, this aspect has less of an impact than it would if he played center. With that said, it remains an area in which Caufield could improve his all-around, 200-foot game in order to convince NHL scouts to have full confidence in his talents at both ends of the rink.
Cole Caufield projects to be a top-six winger at the NHL level. He is an elite goal-scorer who has the potential to put up 40 goals in his prime. Caufield has an engine that never stops and a passion for the game that shines bright every shift. Caufield plays a very comparable game to Alex DeBrincat of the Chicago Blackhawks. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Caufield should be a Top-20 pick for the 2019 NHL Draft, so long as GMs don’t make the mistake of passing him over for his size.