Prospects News & Rumors: Caufield, Stanley & Guenther

The Montreal Canadiens announced on Saturday that they signed top prospect Cole Caufield to a standard three-year, entry-level contract. Winnipeg Jets prospect Logan Stanley recorded his first NHL goals in the Jets 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. Edmonton Oil Kings forward Dylan Guenther adds to his impressive start to the season as he paces the Western Hockey League (WHL) in scoring.

Canadiens Sign Cole Caufield

The Canadiens announced that they’ve agreed to a standard three-year, entry-level contract for Cole Caufield. Drafted 15th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season at the University of Wisconsin in the NCAA. In his freshman season he amassed 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points in 36 games played. He was subsequently named the NCAA B1G Ten Rookie of the Year. He followed that up this season with an astounding 30 goals and 22 assists for 52 points in 31 games played in which he was named B1G Ten Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

Wisconsin Badgers head coach, Tony Granato outlines Caufield’s evolution as a player and just how impressive his sophomore season has been.

“The production is always going to be there for him, but the numbers he’s put up – since really the whole year, but since the world juniors in particular – there’s not many players in college hockey that have been able to put up numbers like this.”

Tony Granato (Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin, Basu and Godin: Phillip Danault adjusts, Cole Caufield’s gone elite and more, The Athletic, 5 Feb 2021) 

Caufield also won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2021 World Junior Championship, where he scored two goals and three assists for five points in seven games. He will quarantine for seven days before he can join up with the Canadiens and it’s likely he will spend some time with the Laval Rocket before he makes the NHL roster.

Stanley Records First NHL Goal

Jets prospect Logan Stanley made his NHL debut earlier this season and hasn’t looked back. The 22-year-old defenseman has played in 23 NHL games this season and finally recorded his first NHL goal in the Jets’ 4-2 loss to the Flames on Saturday. Stanley now has one goal and one assist on the season and has a plus-9 rating. It’s nice to see the Kitchener, Ontario-native grab his first NHL goal, especially since he’s known more for his size — 6-foot-7 and 231 pounds — rather than his offensive ability.

Drafted 18th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose, amassing three goals and seven assists for 10 points in 44 games played. His AHL playing days seem to be well behind him at this point and he’s quickly becoming a valuable member of the Jets’ blue line.

Guenther Continues to Pace WHL in Scoring

The 2020-21 WHL season kicked off earlier this month and top prospect for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft Dylan Guenther got off to a scorching start. The Edmonton Oil Kings winger recorded four goals and three assists for seven points in his first two games played. He followed that up with another two goals, giving himself six goals and four assists for 10 points in four games played. It would be another 13 days before we saw Guenther return to action for the Oil King’s next set of games, but he returned in style with two goals and one assists in last night’s 5-0 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. Since then, he’s registered another goal and four assists in three games and is up to nine goals and nine assists for 18 points in eight games played. He ranks first in the WHL in scoring.

THW analyzed Guenther’s skillset in his 5 WHL Players to Watch article for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft earlier this year.

One of the biggest standouts about Guenther is his elite hockey sense at both ends of the ice. He reads the play so incredibly well. Defensively, he knows when to take a chance, spring forward, and pick off a pass, or when to hang back and take away a passing lane. Offensively, he reads defenders so well and knows where to find his teammates, setting up plays with regularity. He’s a player that never takes his foot off the gas, even without the puck. You can tell he’s hungry for his team to win and he’s always hungry to have the puck on his stick.

Dylan Guenther Edmonton Oil Kings
Dylan Guenther of the Edmonton Oil Kings (Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)

During the 2019-20 season, Guenther led all 2003-born forwards in scoring with an impressive 26 goals and 33 assists for 59 points in 58 games played. He was awarded the Jim Piggott Trophy for WHL Rookie of the Year. With the WHL season delayed this year, he played a few games on loan with the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. In four games played, he recorded three goals and two assists for five points. He is one of the top forwards available in this year’s draft and this hot start will only help his draft stock.

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