After finishing last in the NHL in 2021-22, the Montreal Canadiens have gotten off to a surprisingly strong start this season. Martin St. Louis has his squad sitting above .500 with a 12-10-1 record, and that early success has come in large part thanks to his team’s dynamic top line. Captain Nick Suzuki is leading the way with 25 points in 23 games, while offseason acquisition Kirby Dach looks like he could be beginning a breakout year with 17 points in 23 games. Leading the Canadiens in goals is 21-year-old sniper Cole Caufield, who happens to be playing in the final year of his entry-level contract.
Caufield’s agent, Pat Brisson, confirmed to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that “preliminary” conversations with the Canadiens on a contract extension have begun. (subscription link) LeBrun writes that his “sense is that [the Canadiens] have entered this negotiation willing to be flexible and do whatever ends up being the best combination of cap hit and term.” Seeing as Caufield has played like an elite scorer since the moment St. Louis stepped behind Montreal’s bench, it seems like pulling the trigger on a long-term pact might be in the Canadiens’ best interests.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- As part of his larger piece looking at potential RFAs, LeBrun also dove into the contract situation regarding Vince Dunn and the Seattle Kraken. The 26-year-old blueliner is currently scoring at a 57-point pace and is playing over 23 minutes per night. Dunn is currently playing on a $4MM cap hit, and will be an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent before being able to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2024. While the Kraken already have significant dollars pledged to their 2023-24 team, they should have the room on their books to be able to sign Dunn to the sort of major extension his play warrants.
- Former NHL defenseman Jakub Kindl has found a team for the 2022-23 season. Per a team announcement, the 35-year-old veteran of over 33o NHL games has signed with Storhamar, a club in Norway. Kindl spent last season captaining HC Plzen in the Czech league, scoring 10 points in 43 games.