A model in New Jersey for Caufield

The New Jersey Devils made Jack Hughes the top of the class in the 2019 draft. At the same auction in Vancouver, the Canadian had bet on a small right winger with the 14e total choice in Cole Caufield.

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Hughes and Caufield knew each other well. The two forwards were teammates in the US Under-18 program.

Hughes had the profile of the playmaker, while Caufield was described as a goal scoring machine. In his first scrum as a member of the CH, the right winger had the following analysis when asked if he had taken advantage of the presence of a good center like Hughes (there was also Trevor Zegras in the American program) to inflate its statistics.

“Jack wouldn’t have all of those passes if it wasn’t for me too,” Caufield had said with a smile.

Almost three years later, the two accomplices experience different realities. In his third full season in New Jersey, Hughes is going through his best streak with 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in his last six games. Slowed down by a left shoulder injury at the start of the season, he now has 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) in 19 games. He plays as a first choice overall.

“I talk to Jack a lot,” Caufield said. He’s had a much different season than his early years with the Devils. He’s a different player today. I have to focus on my game and play the right way. I will eventually unlock. I have to do it in a smart way. In the NHL, you can’t cheat too much, you’d get in trouble too often. I just have to keep working hard. I keep this mentality and I keep my head up. “

One goal in 26 games

Considered a strong contender for the Calder Trophy early in the season, due to his immediate impact in last year’s playoffs, Caufield has as much of a chance of winning Rookie of the Year as he is seeing his team participate. to the series.

In his first 26 games, the number 22 scored just one goal and had six assists. He stayed for nearly three weeks with the Laval Rocket in November, and if it weren’t for the many injuries and COVID-19 positive cases, he could have returned.

“The last few days I’ve taken a break from all the noise,” said Caufield. I also stayed away from social media. One evening, people love you; the next day, it’s the opposite. By the end of the year, I just have to step on the accelerator. We have leaders in this locker room. ”

Caufield’s offensive breakdown is part of the great learning book.

“We can no longer change the past, philosophized the head coach, Dominique Ducharme. We are looking forward. We want to do well for our last 48 games. It’s the same for Cole, we want him to mature. It’s a challenge for a young player. ”

“Cole is a young enthusiast. He cares about the team, he wants to do well. He would like to score goals, but he’s a smart youngster. Adversity is part of the path of an NHL player. He’s looking for ways to be successful. ”

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