Nick Suzuki won’t have his running mate on the top line for the rest of the season as the Canadiens announced Saturday morning that winger Cole Caufield is out for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury.
Caufield is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days with a full timeline for how long his recovery will be issued once the medical procedures are completed.
It’s a shocking turn of events for the winger who was once again among the top goal-getters in the NHL this season with his 26 tallies putting him in a tie for 11th league-wide. He was just one point behind Suzuki for the team lead as well. All of a sudden, Montreal’s attack for the stretch run will be considerably weakened as Caufield has scored over 20% of their goals this season.
Caufield is set to become a restricted free agent this summer and his case figures to be one of the more intriguing ones league-wide. He has just 123 career regular season appearances under his belt which is basically the equivalent of a year and a half. Not a lot of players with that type of limited experience get a pricey long-term contract but there’s definitely an expectation that the 22-year-old will be an exception and land a contract close to Suzuki’s $7.875 million AAV.
Taking Caufield’s place on the active roster will be Alex Belzile who has been recalled from Laval. The veteran has been on quite the hot streak as of late with 16 points in his last 10 games including an assist in last night’s comeback victory over Hershey.
In other news Saturday, Jonathan Drouin was moved to injured reserve (opening the spot for Belzile since Caufield isn’t on there yet). He’s still out until after the All-Star break. After missing practice on Friday, Kirby Dach was a full participant in the gameday skate as was Sean Monahan (in a non-contact sweater). What’s left of the injury-riddled Canadiens will take on Toronto tonight while Laval, who now is down to having fewer than 18 available skaters, will host AHL Toronto this afternoon.