Since Martin St. Louis took over as interim head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki have quickly become the most important offensive players for the Canadiens now and in the future.
At a time when general manager Kent Hughes is looking to formulate a plan going forward, Suzuki and Caufield are showing they’re primed and ready to lead the next generation’s edition of the Montreal Canadiens into the future. The pair have had instant chemistry on and off the ice from the moment they were put on the same line together at the tail-end of the 2020-2021 season.
Cole Caufield steals a pass at the blue line and plays give and go Suzuki for the OT winner, Montreal stays alive pic.twitter.com/p7gHKVPauX
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) May 28, 2021
Their complicity grew in the playoffs, helping to lead the Canadiens offensively toward a Stanley Cup Final birth. Suzuki spoke of their complicity at a most recent press conference where both players were awarded the Molson Cup as the March Players of the Month for the club.
“I think since Cole joined the team, we were excited to have the opportunity to play together,” Suzuki said about his relationship with Caufield on Monday. “ On and off the ice, we like being around each other, like playing together. It’s been a lot of fun. Since Marty took over, he’s let us play together pretty much the whole time. I think our chemistry’s been getting better each game. We’re just enjoying playing together and getting better at the same time.”
When linked together this season, both players have put up a point-per-game scoring ratio, especially since the arrival of the new head coach Martin St. Louis. In the 26 games that St. Louis has been head coach, Suzuki has put up 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points, while Caufield has notched 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points. With Caufield finding his scoring touch again playing next to Suzuki, the young winger was quick to point out how the Canadiens’ young pivot has helped his game over the last two months.
“He’s fun to play with, and he makes it easy on everybody,” Caufield said. “This guy just does it all. On the ice, he’s everywhere. He does the right thing. He plays in all situations. I think everybody on our team can look up to a guy like that and respect all the stuff that he does for our team. Off the ice, right away we kind of clicked. He does that with everybody. He’s a genuine person, he’s always there for everybody. That goes a long way in the room and off the ice, for sure.”
Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki are unstoppable by everyone not named Dominique Ducharme folks. pic.twitter.com/JiqKXdQW4i
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 18, 2022
“I think Cole got Cole going. My job now is ‘how do I get Cole to the next level?,” said St. Louis when questioned on his impact on Caufield’s game. “I didn’t get Cole to where he is right now. Cole got to where is he is in the last month in a half, not me. Now it’s my job to get him to that next level.”
The Canadiens interim bench boss also noted the improved play of Nick Suzuki, whom he’s leaned on quite heavily since being named head coach. The improvement of both players, and their continued success to end the season will only help to prepare them to lead a new-look Montreal Canadiens to greener pastures as early as next season.