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Chances are there for Cole Caufield

With his pedigree and past performances, which includes a two-game stint with the team last year in which he recorded three goals and an assist, Rocket fans are putting a lot of faith in Cole Caufield for his return with the team.

During his two first games on the road with the Rocket, the forward did not score a goal but like his coach said on Tuesday morning, you can already feel the impact of Cole Caufield on the Rocket.

“On the power play, they got a lot of chances, especially in Syracuse” noted the Jean-François Houle. “I thought our power play was clearly superior during the last two games when it came to puck possession and shots on net.”

On Wednesday night, the #44 will get the chance to play his first game in a packed Place Bell with fans that will closely follow his game. It’s the kind of support that always helps the confidence of a young player.

During the same interview on Tuesday morning, Jean-François Houle spoke about Caufield’s confidence and his attitude after his reassignment to Laval.

“He came here with a good attitude” explained Houle. “I think that he understands that he needs to gain confidence. He played a lot over the week-end. He was often on the ice on the power play. He had some good shots. He had some good scoring chances.”

That’s exactly what you see when you look at Caufield’s shot chart for the two road games on the week-end. The scoring chances really pop off the page. During those games, Caufield got six shots, including four against Syracuse which was a team-best among all forwards.

Five of those six shots came from the slot, which completely supports the Rocket coach’s point, who also praised the quality of his shot. The truth is, with this shot, if those chances keep piling up, there’s a good probability that Caufield gives the home crowd a good reason to get up out of their seats this week.

There would obviously be nothing better to help the confidence of a young player but the coach wanted to explain that his development process also focusses on his 200 feet game.

“He also has to focus on his defensive play” recalled Jean-François Houle. “It’s important to take it day by day and to get better every day.”

When it comes to this aspect, Caufield’s detractors will note the -4 differential in those two road games as a sign of his deficiency in the defensive zone. That being said, you need to put some context around this statistic.

It starts with the fact that two of the four goals that were scored against the Rocket when Caufield was on the ice were allowed when Laval’s net was empty. Therefore, it’s hard to blame the defensive game of a player in those circumstances because the team was logically pushing for a goal late in the game and when that happens, it’s possible that you allow one.

When we focus on the 5on5 play, we see that the Rocket maintained a scoring chances differential of +1 when Cole Caufield was on the ice during this two games road trip. It’s the third best performance among the Rocket forwards in that statistic behind two players with whom he started playing this trip on a line; Ryan Poehling (+2) and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard (+2).

It’s the kind of statistic in which you simply can’t perform well if you have some defensive problems or if you’re not generating any chances in the offensive zone. It’s also the type of numbers and circumstances that point towards the fact that Cole Caufield is getting close to putting some points on the board and when it happens, it will come in bunches. With a three-game stint at the Place Bell this week for the Rocket, the table is set for fans to see the player that many were hoping for after his 2020-21 dream season.