Could Caufield become the first Canadien to win the Calder since Ken Dryden?
The other day I came across an article that asked the question of whether or not Cole Caufield had what it took to win the Calder this season. As a Canadiens fan, my answer was as expected; “hell yes”, because, who else would. Caufield is a star in the making, and we saw his abilities on full display in the playoffs last year.
He hasn’t even played a full regular season, but he’s been to the Stanley Cup Finals. The added confidence that brings to an inexperienced player like him is huge, not adding to the fact that he is probably the most offensively skilled Canadiens player I’ve seen since Alexei Kovalev. The sheer amount of talent he possesses is quite astounding, and Canadiens fans should be lucky that we have him on our team.
Now in saying that, Caufield is far from being the only rookie superstar making a full regular-season debut this year. Some notable names that will also be in the running include Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks, Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings, Marco Rossi of the Minnesota Wild, Scott Perunovich of the St. Louis Blues, and Quinton Byfield of the Los Angeles Kings.
All these youngsters are skilled in their own way, and all have just as good a shot at capturing the Calder as well. In my opinion, Caufield’s two biggest opponents come from Byfield and Zegras. Byfield enjoyed quite a season last year with the Kings AHL affiliate, As an 18-year-old, in a league predominantly played in by men, Byfield put up a solid 20-point season.
His mix of size and skill makes him so deadly, and I really look forward to seeing what he can do for the King’s franchise in the years to come.
Zegras is so special because he is so similar in terms of skill-set when it comes to Caufield. Both are proficient skaters, both are skilled puck-handlers, and both have a laser of a shot.
Look for these two to give Caufield a run for his money. In the end, however, I believe Caufield’s experience in the playoffs pays off in spades and that he wins the award at the NHL awards next year.
Just a couple of days ago we found out as Canadiens fans that we will be missing some players from the start of training camp. They were marquee names, as Carey Price, new addition Mike Hoffman, veteran Paul Byron, and two others failed their physicals. There is no need to worry though as the injuries don’t seem to be too serious (except for Byron, his hip surgery from the summer requires a longer recovery period).
The Canadiens are lucky that they have oodles of prospects to step in if these players were to miss significant time. Thankfully, the damage isn’t too serious, and we should see Price and Hoffman suiting up within the first month or two of NHL action.
Maximum Capacity…Kind Of…Not Really
The NHL announced on Thursday that every NHL city expects to be at full capacity for their season openers…except for Vancouver…and Montreal. They said the Canucks will only be allowing 50% capacity, while the Canadiens are only allowing 33% of the usual attendance rate in the building.
This comes as a shock to most Canadiens fans, who expected there to be full-capacity seeing as Quebec has introduced a new vaccine passport, and is enforcing it at all social gatherings (restaurants, movies, sporting events). It’s sad to see that we can’t all get together at a hockey game and enjoy our favorite sport, but alas, amidst a global pandemic, there are more important things at play.
Drouin’s Hidden Battle
Part of being a man is admitting when you’re wrong. In the past, I have ragged on Jonathan Drouin immensely, as I saw he had so much potential but just wasn’t living up to it. This past week, in a sit down with french sports station RDS, Drouin met with reporter Chantal Machabée and went over why he missed last year’s playoffs.
What we learned was that the Canadiens winger was fighting a heavy battle against anxiety and insomnia, deterrents to anyone’s ability to perform, especially when you are an athlete. This served as a lesson for me to never judge someone too early, and not to talk unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.
Jonathan, we look forward to seeing you back on the ice come October, and we wish you all the best for the upcoming season.
Dropping the mike on ya!!