Some players are just natural goal scorers. Alex DeBrincat was someone who I thought was one of them. He did it at every level, but he had his detractors because of his size and low and behold he has 69 goals in his first two seasons for the Blackhawks. I can’t predict Caufield will replicate that, but it’s entirely possible because he scores goals almost the same way.
Practice makes perfect and here’s a young Caufield showing a natural shooting ability.
He has a knack for getting lost on the ice when there’s a crowd around the net and he’ll move well without the puck to get back open. He can still thread a great pass when the defense gets tight, but he never stops moving his legs. He is looking and creating scoring chances on every shift. You can say that about a lot of players, but few have the offensive annoyingness that he has.
He doesn’t need a lot of room to shoot and the release is elite. It’s gone quickly from his one-timer to his wrist shot. He’s deadlier on the power play because of the extra room but he’s still very dangerous five-on-five. He frustrates the opposition because when he gets going, he’s hard to contain.
He relentless. He fights for pucks. He can streak down the ice and create 2-on-1’s. He and Jack Hughes have connected for goals right off the draw while with the NTDP. When Caufield plays in the NHL, and he will, late in the game he will be one of the players that a center, maybe Jesperi Kotkaniemi will look to draw the puck back to in the offensive zone when the extra attacker is on the ice, or in a big situation.
He smiles all the time. He’s all about hockey 24-7. He talked about learning how to shoot from different angles and we’re seeing that in the Summer Showcase. He knows he won’t have much to shoot at and he already has scored in that tournament with a hint of space.
The fact that he fell to 15thwith all the evidence that he can play this game and fans of the teams who passed on them will talk about this for years to come. There was enough evidence just from the U18s alone when he scored 14 goals in seven games that you can’t worry about his size when drafting him. He didn’t drop to DeBrincat proportions, but he fell enough that he gave the Canadiens exactly what they needed. A complement to the future top-line center they drafted the year before.
He has a good sense of humor as well: