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Canadiens sign former top pick Cole Caufield

Forward Cole Caufield, the No. 15 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

The deal will pay Caufield $700,000 at the NHL level this season and $832,500 at the NHL level through 2022-23. He will also receive three signing bonus payments of $92,500, and can earn up to $300,000 in bonuses next season and as much as $850,000 in incentives in 2022-23.


Caufield, who just finished a stellar sophomore season at Wisconsin, will report to the Laval Rocket of the American Hockey League. The Badgers lost to Bemidji State, 6-3, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.


Caufield, 20, led the NCAA with 30 goals and the Big Ten with 52 points this season. He was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey.


The Wisconsin native is expected to be serve a seven-day quarantine, with 14 days of COVID-19 testing, upon arriving in Canada.

"I've watched games where his game without the puck, his commitment without the puck, took the biggest step for me," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said.

"He's always been a goal-scorer ... those type of players where they need just that one chance and it's in the back of the net.


That's always been there. I remember seeing a clip (when) they lost the puck at the blue line and (Caufield) was the first guy back and he lifted the guy's stick. I think his game without the puck has improved a lot."


Montreal (14-8-9) is in fourth place in the North Division with 37 points, two ahead of the Calgary Flames for the division's final playoff spot.


The Canadiens haven't played since beating Vancouver 5-4 in a shootout on March 20. Four games were postponed due to NHL COVID-19 protocols and Montreal's next game is scheduled for Tuesday at Ottawa.


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