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United States National Team Development Program right winger Cole Caufield notched 72 goals and 28 assists in 2018-19, ending his National Team tenure with a few program records to his name

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Cole Caufield may stand around 5-foot-7 and 162-pounds but make no mistake, the United States National Team Development Program forward is making big moves.

The right winger lit the lamp 72 times in the 2018-19 season, averaging 1.13 goals per game donning the Red, White and Blue. 

It was a big 18-goal improvement from his '17-18 year and prompted some big recognition, cementing his stature among the highly-touted United States program.

Video: COMBINE | Cole Caufield

The forward's 72 markers in '18-19 are the most by any USNTDP player in single-season history, as Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews is next in line with 55. The Stevens Point, WI, product also holds the record in all-time goals scored by a National Team Development Program player with 126, surpassing sniper Phil Kessel's 104. 

Those NHL superstars being, of course, some big names.

Caufield relishes his uncanny ability to put the puck in the net but isn't reducing himself to being a one-dimensional offensive skater. He made that abundantly clear at the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, N.Y.

"I like being known as a goal scorer but there's more to my game than that," Caufield told after he completed his fitness testing. "With my season and how my stat line went, I thought it looked a little odd… I think my playmaking is pretty special."

The University of Wisconsin commit compiled just 28 assists this past campaign but with the abundance of playmakers featured on the '18-19 USNTDP squad - including Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte, Trevor Zegras and Matthew Boldy - it's no surprise that Caufield whipped shots as the trigger man.

"As a team, we had so much success and so many great players up and down the lineup," Caufield said. "With all the team success and all the guys pushing for us, I thought that's where all the individual success happened. I obviously couldn't have done it without my teammates. 

"It's a credit it to them."

Video: COMBINE | Dan Marr

At the Combine, Caufield's teammate Spencer Knight mentioned that, at times, the National Team's practices would be more competitive than some matches. Caufield echoed the sentiment and figures it will apply to his game when the forward moves on to the NCAA, where he will lace up beside his brother Brock for the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

"Every practice was like a game situation and game mentality," he said. "It's something that we're going to miss but you got to keep pushing yourself and continue to be better."

NHL Central Scouting Director professed at the Combine that size shouldn't be seen as a detractor to players at the Draft and should rather be lauded for what they've been able to achieve in their respective junior careers.

Although Caufield's size isn't considered big, his potential certainly is.

"NHL clubs, they don't look at size anymore," Marr said. "They look at good players, best players and what they bring to the table. Scouting has changed in that way, too. You don't pick apart a player, and look at what they don't do well because a lot of that you can coach. You dwell on what they bring to the table and what they do well. 

"Once you know at the level that these kids are playing at, competing at, if they can deliver, chances are they're going to deliver at the National Hockey League level as well." 

If that's the case, don't expect Caufield to stop the goal parade any time soon.

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