Had he agreed to a shorter-term deal, would Cole Caufield have made more money in his next contract? Maybe, maybe not. Probably, actually.

What we do know, however, is that this prospect does not seem to bother him in any way. After signing an eight-year, $62.8 million pact, the 22-year-old striker is in no mood to complain.

“That’s really a lot of money!” “, he exclaimed, Monday afternoon, in a videoconference attended by representatives of the Montreal media. In its original version: “It’s a heck of a lot of money!” Of the equivalent of 84 million CAN, we can probably say that, yes.

He still finds it hard to believe that he has access to such a sum. “My passion for hockey will never change; come to the arena every day, I would do it for free! »

On several occasions, he nevertheless repeated that this contract was important for him, of course, but also for his family. We understand that long-term stability was a priority. This in order to make Montreal his “home”.

He was therefore not in a “state of mind” to bet on a short contract that would possibly have made him even richer in a few years.

Another thing he repeated was his pride in being a member of the Habs for another eight years. We suspect that his bosses are as proud as he is. Because Caufield, last season, sailed towards a harvest of 40 goals – he scored 26 in 46 games before being injured. However, mavericks of his caliber earn, for the most part, more than the average of 7.85 million US that he will pocket from 2023-2024.

Knowing also that the NHL’s salary cap could rise considerably starting in the 2024-2025 season, and that the Canadiens will be released from Carey Price’s contract after the 2025-2026 season, years 4 to 8 of the Caufield could be very advantageous for the team.

The winger, however, insisted that the organization, he believes, “is in the right direction”. He enjoys “the group of guys” and the “mindset” within them. He sees “strong growth” coming up. “I want to be part of the future. »

He further reiterated his confidence in the coaching staff and management members as well as the plan in place for the rebuilding of the club. “It will still take time, but if we stick to [the plan], we will be dangerous in the next few years. »

On a personal note, Caufield is continuing his rehabilitation following season-ending shoulder surgery last January. He’s been skating a few times a week for the past month and will be taking shots again soon. He believes he will be “100%” back in training camp. “I’m not worried at all. »

By agreeing to a long-term agreement with Caufield, the Habs also secure the services of their two most important forwards until at least 2030. Nick Suzuki will begin next season the second year of an eight-year contract which earns him an average of 7.875 million.

The similarity in sums – a difference of $25,000 per year – is not coincidental. In the Journal de Montreal, Pat Brisson, Caufield’s agent, confirmed that the captain’s salary was, for the time being, a reference measure. A ceiling, in short.

“It was clear on both sides, added the new multimillionaire. Nick is our man, our leader. »

The two show an obvious bond on the ice, but have also grown closer off it.

Caufield, unsurprisingly, says he is therefore enthusiastic about the idea of ​​continuing his journey by his side. “Nick always behaves in the right way, pointed out number 22. Everyone looks at him and wants to be like him. It brings positivity. »

Speaking of building, there has been an obvious change in tone within the organization towards the ongoing rebuilding. The club’s general manager, Kent Hughes, and owner, Geoff Molson, have alternately said recently that they are raising their expectations of their roster after two miserable seasons. In a recent interview with La Presse, Nick Suzuki applauded his bosses’ words.

Caufield didn’t venture into that territory, even when asked about the team’s near-term prospects, let alone in a division where competition is fierce. The challenge is “exciting,” he says, but it will take “one step at a time”; place “short-term expectations” during the season and “do our best on a daily basis”. He himself wants to become a “more complete” player, although he refrains from detailing the elements of his game that he wishes to refine.

At all the levels he has gone through, he has improved from year to year, he recalled. At 22, he still has time to progress, more so with an eight-year contract in his pocket.

However, in the end, he is aware that it is the victories that count in this league. “And we want to get back there as soon as possible. »