Many of us have discussed the possibility recently, some were dead against it. But after a 2-8-0 record in their first 10 games, the Canadiens made the decision to send Cole Caufield down to the Laval Rocket for a stint in the AHL for a while. The young American had only managed one assist in those 10 games. He played most of the games on the top line with Nick Suzuki but was recently brought down to third line duties.
The move is not a punishment for Caufield, nor is it something negative. They’re not blaming him for the start of the season. The biggest crock is when we read people claim that he has nothing to learn in the AHL. It’s far from the truth. In fact, I would venture to say that every single NHL player has things to work on, things to learn to become a better player. So if you think for a single second that a 20 year-old in his rookie season has nothing to learn, you are dead wrong! No other way to say it. The day you stop learning is the day you start regressing… because everyone around you will progress.
I can’t help but think that some people are upset because they had predicted that he would win the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year… Basically, they’re upset to save face. If you think of the development of the player, something many are blaming the Canadiens’ for in the past, this is the best thing to do for the kid, and for the organisation long term. Most NHLers have spent time in the AHL and many of them are impact players on their team today.
Caufield won’t stay down all season. But while he’s there, he will have the puck on his stick. He will hit the twine behind the goalies. He will regain confidence. So take a deep breath, realize that it’s not the end of the world (quite the contrary) and that finally, the Habs are doing the right thing in player-development. With the way the team is performing, it’s not about THIS season. It’s about seasons to come…