A game-breaking goal scorer that, despite his diminutive frame, thrives under pressure and is difficult to contain. He’s a silky smooth skater that traverses all three zones with jump and jam. Defensively, he’s uncomfortable having the puck in his own end for long and he’ll make the extra effort to pressure around the blue line and take away cross-ice options. Upon procuring puck possession, he’ll be the first to explode up ice in-transition. The hallmark of his game is his exceptional goal-scoring ability. He has a shot that absolutely leaps off his stick with pinpoint accuracy when he lets loose and a low centre of gravity that facilitates fast and flashy puckhandling at pace. He affords his linemates options by taking advantage of any allotted attention he garners, generating time and space by drawing guys in; he’s perpetually hard to play against. All-in-all, Cole Caufield is an electrifying goal-scoring machine that makes some of the most otherworldly plays look like child’s play.
Caufield is a pure sniper and that’s really easy to love. His shot has an elite release and he’s comfortable putting the puck wherever he damn well pleases most of the time. Caufield is obviously very short but he’s stocky and thick throughout his lower half, giving him an advantage with a low center of gravity. He destroyed all of the goal scoring records put in front of him and he projects as a potential elite goal scorer in the NHL.
Can he handle the physical rigors of the NHL at his size? He’s a very good skater but he’s not quite as explosive as I was hoping he would be given how small he is. Every little thing is going to matter with Caufield and if his elusiveness does not translate to the NHL, he’s going to struggle taking hits. How his all-around game develops is paramount to his long-term viability as an NHL player. He has a long way to go to get to that point but the name of the game is goal scoring and nobody in this draft class does it better than Caufield.
There’s no way I’m taking Caufield at 4 despite the goal-scoring acumen. There are simply too many other talented players available to justify the risks involved in taking this kid that highly. If he fell to 16 he would be a fun pick and instantly bring an element to Colorado’s system that they have not had maybe ever. He’s the kind of goal-scoring dynamo that Colorado simply hasn’t had and should he pan out, he would combine with Rantanen and MacKinnon to give the Avs among the league’s nastiest goal-scoring trios.
Ranked #18 by TSN/McKenzie
Ranked #8 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #26 by Hockeyprospects.com