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Caufield: 'I want to make a good impression'

It's no coincidence that the Canadiens' 2019 first-round pick is next to Nick Suzuki in the locker room at development camp

by Dan Braverman and Pierre-Antoine Mercier @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - Due to NCAA regulations, Cole Caufield is currently taking part in what could be his only camp with the Canadiens this season.

Which is why it's all the more important for him to have a good showing this week at the Bell Sports Complex.

"This camp is very important to me," mentioned the 18-year-old Wisconsin native. "I want to make a good impression on everybody that sees me, and hopefully the players see it, too."

Video: Cole Caufield on his experience in Montreal so far

Caufield has committed to the University of Wisconsin for next season. Another player who has also gone the college route is the Habs' first-round pick (25th overall) in 2017, Ryan Poehling, who played three seasons for St. Cloud State.

The Lakeville, MN native was impressed by his fellow countryman following Wednesday's on-ice sessions in Brossard.

"The first time I saw him play was today on the ice, in person at least," described Poehling of Caufield. "He's a goal-scorer. Some guys just have that feel, and he's really quick in the corners. I ended up being lucky enough to get him on my team. I'm excited to hopefully get a few shifts with him."

The best goal-scorer in the US National Team Development Program is seated next to another former first-round pick, Nick Suzuki, in the locker room.

Suzuki and Caufield met at the 2019 Draft in Vancouver, while Nick was there to support his younger brother, Ryan.

As was the case for Poehling, Suzuki was also in awe of the Canadiens' new acquisition.

"We've been talking since I met him at the Draft and he's a really good kid. He has a ton of skill out there. I was watching him and he looked really good," shared the 2019 OHL playoffs MVP. "We sit beside each other in the room right now, so hopefully I get to know him a little better."

Poehling and Suzuki weren't shy to offer up some advice to the young winger.

"They just tried to tell me to enjoy it. And now, I'm trying to make the most of it because it's a really short period of time," added Caufield. "So I'm going to try to make a good impression right away and throughout the week."

Speaking of making a good impression, the Stevens Point, WI native expects to do what he does best during the first scrimmage of the tournament: lighting the lamp.

"I'm going to try to score a few tonight," he said with a smile. "I'm excited to play against the guys."

Day 1 Notebook

Poehling and Suzuki were both also asked about their expectations for next season. For his part, Poehling isn't concerning himself too much with where he'll fit in on the lineup.

"The main goal for me is just winning. That's a characteristic that some people have and I think I have it. So for me, I don't really worry about where I'll be playing, more so what I'll be doing. If they put me in a spot where they want me to be a goal-scorer and a passer and have points then I'll do that, but if they want me to be the guy who's going to shut the D-zone down and get a little bit of offense, I'll do that as well. That's where I'm more flexible in that sense, where I can do both. So it helps my case out a lot."

Video: Ryan Poehling on his expectations for next season

Suzuki, meanwhile, stated that he's aiming to be a Hab as quickly as possible but would not complain if he ends up starting the season in Laval.

"I don't think it's a disappointment. I'm still 19 right now. My goal is to be an NHL player and whatever steps I have to do to make that happen is what I'm going to do. So my goal coming into camp in September is to make the team but if I fall short of that, Laval has been a great hockey market and development team for the last few years."

Video: Nick Suzuki on getting to know Cole Caufield

Poehling will be heading back home to Minnesota for the summer, but was happy he got to take in Montreal in the summertime - and without too much recognition, either.

"At the Grand Prix, I think more people were looking out for Formula One guys. So that was a lot of fun, to be a normal guy here.

"It's so special. They just enjoy life to the fullest. I feel like that's how they do. They dress well, they, party well, and they just have class. I just enjoyed the whole environment they have. It's a fun time to be a part of it."

Saguenay native Rafaël Harvey-Pinard got the chance to express what it meant to be drafted by his childhood team.

"It was a big moment with lots of emotion. I've followed the Canadiens since I was really young. It was a great experience, stepping out on the ice today. I was drafted, but there's still work to do. I need to show what I can do on the ice."

Harvey-Pinard did not get picked up the first time he was eligible for the Draft, but had a message for anyone who goes through something similar.

"You can't give up. That's hockey. When you work hard, good things will happen."

Video: Rafaël Harvey-Pinard on the Draft

Unlike Harvey-Pinard, defenseman Jayden Struble grew up a Boston Bruins fan in Cumberland, RI and got a bit of a different reaction from his friends when the Habs took him in the second round (46th overall).

"I got a bit of flak for that, but they're happy for me. I converted a couple of them into Montreal fans."

Video: Jayden Struble on his style of play

Development camp resumes with on-ice sessions starting at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. All on-ice sessions and scrimmages are open to the public. For the full schedule and roster, click here.

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