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NHL Rumours: Cole Caufield Has Preliminary Extension Talks

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 07: Look on Montreal Canadiens right wing Cole Caufield (22) at warm-up before the St. Louis Blues versus the Montreal Canadiens game on January 07, 2023, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the latest episode of TSN’s “Insider Trading”, Darren Dreger reported that preliminary talks began regarding an extension for Cole Caufield. The young right winger looks set for a hefty raise from the Montreal Canadiens. This season marks the last of his entry-level contract, with an $880,833 cap hit. An extension for Caufield, 22, looms large as he hits restricted free agency (RFA) this summer.

Cole Caufield Begins Extension Talks with Canadiens

Per Dreger, extension talks started between Caufield and the Canadiens roughly a month ago. Whether significant progress took place since the holidays, though, remains to be seen. Caufield can sign anywhere up to eight seasons for his next contract, assuming it is with Montreal.

The Habs today sit right against the salary cap, but a significant amount comes off the books this summer. Most notably, Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov both become UFAs, freeing up a combined $10.5 million.  Plus, Sean Monahan and Paul Byron reach free agency too, though their combined $9.775 million hit already sits on the team’s long-term injured reserve list. Either way, that adds plenty of money to the pool for a Caufield extension.

What this Means for the Future

Without any doubt, Caufield represents the team’s most significant player on an expiring contract. Before this season, the young star accumulated 48 points over the first 77 games of his career. With 36 points in 44 games this year, his scoring pace clearly picked up. Caufield’s 26 goals to date already represent a career-high for a single season, with plenty of time to add to it.

Caufield and Nick Suzuki represent the Habs’ entire future. They sit one point apart, with a double-digit lead over the rest of their roster. They have fantastic advanced metrics too, despite the Canadiens’ lack of team success. As they develop and grow, the Canadiens do too.

A Caufield extension will get signed one way or another, without a doubt. Whether it be a bridge deal for less money or a massive eight-year contract, one thing is for sure: his cap hit is going way, way up.

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