The Montreal Canadiens have decided that Cole Caufield needs some more seasoning, sending the high-flying winger to the minor leagues after a tough start to his season. Mathieu Perreault has been moved to injured reserve, while Michael Pezzetta has been recalled to take Caufield’s place on the active roster.
Caufield, 20, came into the season as one of the presumptive favorites for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, after his outstanding performance in the 2021 playoffs. The undersized winger had four goals and 12 points for the Canadiens on their Stanley Cup Finals run, showing blazing speed and huge offensive upside. That offensive performance has been nowhere to be found this season, however, as Caufield has recorded just a single assist and no goals through the first ten games of the season.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that at least some of that is due to poor luck through the first month of the season. Caufield is still tied for the second-most shots on the team and it’s not like anyone is really lighting up the score sheet in Montreal. Free agent signing Mike Hoffman leads the team in goals with four, while Perreault’s hat trick from earlier this season puts him in second place at three. Usually, reliable offensive players like Tyler Toffoli, Brendan Gallagher, Nick Suzuki, and Jeff Petry have all been unable to break through, making Caufield’s struggles at least a little bit easier to swallow.
The fact is though, if the Canadiens are going to struggle so badly to create offense at the NHL level, why not let Caufield show what he can do with big minutes in the minor leagues. The 2019 first-round pick basically skipped the AHL, playing just two games there last season after his time at the University of Wisconsin ended. He’ll now go back to work on his game and get his confidence back, while the Canadiens give Pezzetta a chance at the NHL level.