Date of Birth: Jan. 2, 2001
Place of Birth: Stevens Point, WI, USA
Height: 5-foot-7 Weight: 162 pounds
Position: Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
NHL Central Scouting: 8th (among NA Skaters)
Future Considerations: 16th
McKeen’s Hockey: 13th
Dobber Prospects: 14th
Caufield has proven he can put the puck in the back of the net with ease. He scored 72 goals in 64 games with the USNTDP this past season. He then put on a goal-scoring clinic at last month’s U18 World Championships playing on Jack Hughes’ right wing.
During the tournament, Caufield tied Alex Ovechkin’s record of 14 goals in a single World Championship on way to being named the competition’s MVP. Any time you are being mentioned in the same sentence with Ovechkin, you are doing something right.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
Caufield was born for the right era of hockey. Even though there are still some who worry about his small size, he is playing during a time where you don’t have to be over six feet tall in order to succeed. His speed and unbelievable shot will make him dangerous at any level.
Many of the scouting concerns being expressed about Caufield heading into this draft where the same thing being said about Alex DeBrincat heading into the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. DeBrincat was doubted at every turn and all he has done is score 69 goals in his first two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. Caufield is not only the same size as DeBrincat, but his skillset is very similar as well.
What Caufield lacks in size, he makes up with in speed, a great motor and an unreal release. He uses his feet to create open space on the ice and then finishes with his terrific slot. He might be the best pure goalscorer of the 2019 draft class.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Cole Caufield – NHL Draft Projection
Where Caufield is drafted could be one of the more intriguing storylines of the first round. His talent is worthy of a top-10 pick, but his size will scare off some teams. It is hard to figure out where exactly he will be picked, but he can go anywhere after the first to picks are made.
“Hyper-skilled but undersized winger brings all the offensive tools you can handle. Has been clicking at nearly a goal-per-game with The Program with his deadly release. Owns excellent edges, and a non-stop motor but could use that extra gear at his stature.” Cam Robinson/Dobber Prospects
“Caufield has an excellent arsenal of shots. His wrist shot and snapshot are both deadly accurate and have good power. They also have very quick releases which fool goaltenders. Caufield also has a very good one-timer. He has a knack for finding soft spots in the defense and getting his shot off. Caufield can even score on his backhand. He is not afraid to battle in the dirty areas of the ice and goes hard to the net. When he is there, he can score on rebounds and deflections due to his soft hands and excellent coordination.” Ben Kerr/Last Word on Hockey
“A game-breaking goal scorer that, despite his diminutive frame, thrives under pressure and is difficult to contain. He’s a silky-smooth skater that traverses all three zones with jump and jam. Defensively, he’s uncomfortable having the puck in his own end for long and he’ll make the extra effort to pressure around the blue line and take away cross-ice options. Upon procuring puck possession, he’ll be the first to explode up ice in transition. The hallmark of his game is his exceptional goal-scoring ability.” Elite Prospects
“Purest hands I’ve seen, for sure. When he gets a puck, he’s able to prep and snap it so quickly, and it’s a laser every time. He’s so sneaky with the way he uses his body because there’s a lot of core strength that he uses to his advantage with that smaller frame.” John Wroblewski/U.S. U-18 NTDP head coach
- Deadly shot/release
- Skating and speed
- Soft hands
- Willing to go to dirty areas of the ice
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Lack of size
- Needs to improve on defense
- Doesn’t like to handle the puck in the defensive zone
The NHL is a goalscorer’s league and Caufield has proven he can score at any level so far. His small frame will turn off some scouts, but there could be plenty of teams kicking themselves for passing on him. With the recent success of smaller players like DeBrincat, Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Kane, Brad Marchand and Mats Zuccarello, there is no reason why Caufield cannot succeed at the NHL level.
Risk – 3/5 | Reward – 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 9/10 | Defense – 7/10
Caufield has been one of the best players the USNTDP has ever produced when it comes to scoring goals. He helped Team USA to the gold medal at the 2017 World U17 Hockey Challenge by leading the tournament with eight goals. He was a star at April’s U18 World Championship as his 14 goals led the United States to the bronze medal. Caufield was also named the most valuable player and best forward of the tournament.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.