To see Cole Caufield supporting the work of the Canadiens is a sign of health for the organization

Ever since the day Auston Matthews signed a five-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in February 2019, the long-term but not-too-long-term model, while not necessarily a way forward for many NHL players, still holds some kind of precedent created. Because players have discovered this opportunity to get a very good salary from their second contract while having the luxury of ending it young enough to be able to checkout a second time while they are still at their best. Your skills.

It’s a route Cole Caufield could have taken in his negotiations with the Canadian.

Finally, last fall his agent Pat Brisson negotiated a four-year deal between Jason Robertson and the Dallas Stars, giving the young star one year of complete autonomy.

While we felt this was not Caufield’s preferred option, it was not a sure-fire success. He could have chosen a way out at any time in the last few months. The Canadian sits at the bottom of the table, a long way from the Stanley Cup, and Caufield may have felt the need to negotiate safe passage should the team’s recovery not go as hoped in the coming seasons.

The fact that Caufield has enthusiastically agreed to an eight-year, $7.85 million-a-season contract with the Canadiens validates his commitment to the organization. He wants to be there no matter what. The star winger is paid handsomely, of course, but not all youngsters will be offered such a long contract and given the position the Canadian is in, it may not be everyone who is offered such a long contract. I wouldn’t accept that either.

There has been a lot of talk about culture in the team in recent months. But it’s that culture that will benefit from Caufield’s new contract, as the team’s single most important star is putting his stamp on what the Canadiens are about to build.

“For me, being here long and helping make things right is very special and I look forward to the challenge,” Caufield said in a video conference call on Monday.

Caufield seems to have a good understanding of what the Canadian stands for and what brick he can bring to the building. Although he is American and grew up idolizing Joe Pavelski, from the moment he designed it, he quickly developed a bond with the symbolism of the Habs and the influence he has in the community. Caufield said he wanted to carry on the Canadian’s legacy and help him grow, knowing he was part of something alive that was there long before him and will not end with him.

Since the Canadian’s thrilling but somewhat unreal presence in the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago, the organization has hit a wall and been forced to take a turn. At other times, it would have been a time when fans would have temporarily abandoned the team while waiting for it to regain hope of success, as was the case at the turn of the 2000s. Caufield is the city of a city that has expressed unconditional support for the team, even at the start of a rebuild.

“For me, every night is Saturday, it doesn’t matter who you play against,” he said. It’s a special city and the fans are the best thing about it. No matter what happens, your support always comes first. »

It’s not uncommon for a young star like him to think like this. It should be seen as a sign of the times. Several veterans whose presence on the team he thinks he values ​​could quote Steve Shutt, who said in the 1970s that the fans always got behind the Canadian “whether he wins or draws”. The appreciation of the game and the effort, but also the measure of success has changed in the eyes of the youngest generation of CH fans, to the chagrin of those who judge that today we settle for very little. . But it’s this suddenly healthier and less stuffy environment that helps Caufield feel at home here.

Caufield has his weaknesses, he has flaws as a player, but he’s the right personality for the times the organization is going through. And we’re excited to play that role. Happy not to be the boy anymore but the one who is ready to take the lead with his second contract.

“I put my pride far above anything else,” Caufield said. It’s so much fun to be part of this team. »

Unless health issues or an absolute lack of progression in his overall game somehow negate his offensive contribution, the Canadian should find his account in this apparently obvious agreement as well. Caufield is neither underpaid nor overpaid. He will deserve what players of his caliber deserve.

In the small group of wingers who signed their second contract between the ages of 21 and 23 and have opted for a seven- or eight-year contract, Caufield is the second highest-paid of them after Brady Tkachuk. He’s not in bad company.

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With 123 regular games in the National League, Caufield quickly proved he was the top scorer and his average performance compared to the other wingers at the time their second contract came into effect is very telling.

However, Caufield no longer wants to stick to the role of a one-dimensional player, but wants to work on becoming a more complete player. In addition, we knew that he held Martin St-Louis (another of his childhood heroes) in high esteem, but the avalanche of compliments he gave to whoever will serve as his primary advisor in improving his overall game shows the infinite confidence that he had hat in his trainer.

“I think just because of his presence, we have something special in the dressing room,” Caufield said. He’s a guy you can count on, a guy you can go to. I find his way of coaching something very special. He probably has a different style than what you see on most teams. He loves coming to the rink every day. He makes it fun, he makes everyone around him more energetic. He knows when to push the right buttons, when to set our butts on fire and things like that.

“And as a teacher in the dressing room, he has a lot of influence and the boys listen to him. He has a lot of power in the dressing room. What he has is very special, and so is the way he goes about his everyday life. I think Marty will teach me a lot of things as he is already doing and it is obvious that he has a lot to do with it (to my success). I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of the organization.”

Caufield is revered, he’s successful, he has a coach he loves, his captain has become a good friend of his and he repeats ad nauseum that the team is on the right track. And there he is required to “tolerate” that situation by making him one of the highest-paid wingers in the business.

We too would smile in his place.

(Photo: David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jordan Johnson

Award-winning entrepreneur. Baconaholic. Food advocate. Wannabe beer maven. Twitter ninja.

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