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Canadiens Run into Cap Space Trouble, Won’t Play Cole Caufield

Montreal Canadiens coach Dominque Ducharme has told the media that the team doesn’t have the cap space to let Cole Caufield play.

The Montreal Canadiens plan heading towards to end of the season seemed to be to give some time to top-tier prospect Cole Caufield. Unfortunately, that plan seems to have hit a snag. Caufield was placed on the team’s taxi squad Friday, but head coach Dominique Ducharme said salary cap space issues will keep the forward out of the lineup for now.

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John Lu of TSN is reporting that Ducharme said there is no flexibility to add Caufield to the roster right now. Furthermore, because of the team’s salary cap situation, they won’t be able to dress any member of the taxi squad unless there’s an injury to one of the 20 skaters on their roster.

Because of this, Canadiens management has yet to decide if Caufield will even accompany the team on their upcoming western road trip to take part in morning skates and practices. What might end up happening is that the team elects to return the winger to Laval Rocket ahead of their next game on April 21. The bonus for Caufield staying with the big club is that he’s around in the event of an injury, and he’s making his NHL salary.

Not What Montreal Had Planned

Clearly, this is not have the Habs had things laid out, but because of how busy GM Marc Bergevin was at the NHL Trade Deadline, these are the consequences that come with being so active. Caufield, 20, was selected 15th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft and has three goals and one assist in just two games in the AHL this season. The expectation was that he could actually contribute down the stretch for Montreal.

Caufield tallied 30 goals and 22 assists over 31 games with the Wisconsin Badgers during the 2020-21 season, his second year with the school.  He won the NCAA’s Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the college hockey’s best player. 

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