The Montreal Canadiens not only secured their future by signing Cole Caufield, but set the foundation for even bigger things to come.
With Caufield and Nick Suzuki now locked in until at least 2030, the Habs have ensured the long-term viability of their forward corps as they transition to a younger and more talented core.
That being said, general manager Kent Hughes‘ next task becomes even more tricky than locking down core players: surrounding them with even more talent.
If the team is able to add another game-breaking talent to this core, they’ll be well on their way to success; but, as we know, the trick isn’t acquiring them, it’s keeping them around.
As these youngsters will slowly funnel into the organization and up the lineup, one constant will remain: Caufield and Suzuki will remain at the head of the pecking order.
And why is that important? I’m glad you asked!
Kings Of The North
The NHL salary cap may not be rising by more than $1M this season, but it’s estimated that it will come near to $95-100M by 2026; and that’s where these deals will pay even further dividends.
Securing both young stars to deals under $8M, Nick Suzuki ($7.875M) and Cole Caufield ($7.85M) will provide Kent Hughes with a significant amount of cap flexibility when the club reaches contender status.
Not only will they be entering their primes on value contracts, but it will give the club the fiscal flexibility it has been craving in order to improve the club in other areas.
We’ve seen championship teams quickly get disassembled due to a cap crunch, while contending teams giving themselves one kick at the can before having to undergo a fiscal overhaul.
In signing them to these deals, the Canadiens have bought themselves time down the line to keep a potential contending team together longer.
It also helps create a fiscal hierarchy for the club moving forward, where the team’s salary structure resembles the organizational depth chart; meaning their best players now set the bar for what salary expectations will be moving forward.
With a young crop of talented youngsters coming through, having that kind of team culture will go a long way in helping the Montreal Canadiens build a winner down the line.