Caufield, Bernard-Docker Highlight NCAA’s Presence at NHL Levelby Dom Lunardo April 11, 2021 1 comment
The college boys have arrived. With the 2020-21 NCAA hockey season and Frozen Four tournament now behind us, NHL general managers are looking into notable prospects and what comes next in their development.
Let’s take a closer look and examine two players who are making the transition from the NCAA and turning pro.
Cole Caufield – Montreal Canadiens (University of Wisconsin)
First up on our list? Montreal’s No. 1 prospect by a country mile and the reigning Hobey Baker award winner. It’s been a long time since the Habs have had an elite-level prospect on their hands who is as dynamic, uber-talented, and electrifying as Cole Caufield. The wait is now over, though, after Caufield signed his entry-level contract. Born and raised in Stevens Point, Wisc., and at the tender age of 20, this kid is just oozing with raw skill after being drafted 15th overall in 2019.
Caufield is as gifted a goalscorer as they come. He’s intelligent, speedy, and possesses silky-smooth hands in and around the goal with an absolute lethal release. Shifty strides and a low center of gravity make him challenging to check and contain in across the ice. This past season at the University of Wisconsin, Caufield put together a memorable campaign. He notched 30 goals and 51 points over 31 contest and emerged as college hockey’s most outstanding player. Canadiens fans should be licking their chops at the mere thought of him in their lineup.
At the much-anticipated 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton, Alta., Caufield dazzled with two goals and five points in seven games played as Team USA won gold. When it comes to someone of Caufield’s makeup, the question isn’t if, but rather when hockey fans will be blessed with his presence. This kid really is must-see television.
Jacob Bernard-Docker – Ottawa Senators (University of North Dakota)
Bernard-Docker just finished his sophomore season at the University of North Dakota. With his emergence, the Sens have themselves a real nice blue-liner waiting in the wings. After tallying three goals and 18 points in 27 games played to go along with a plus-17 rating this past season with the Fighting Hawks, Bernard-Docker continues to establish himself as one of the most promising defensemen outside of the NHL. His confidence continues to grow, as does his influence on games. Selected 26th overall by Ottawa in 2018, Bernard-Docker signifies the next wave of prospects inching closer and closer to an everyday spot in the NHL.
As a player, “JVB” combines the unique skillset of size, agility, play-making ability, and physical play. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he’s strong, good in open spaces, and loves to “lock it down” on the defensive side of the puck. Born and raised in Canmore, Alta., Bernard-Docker is as hockey as they come. For a franchise like the Sens, who continue to progress through their rebuild, he is the prototypical top-four blue-liner with a vast toolkit at his disposal. A potential core of Bernard-Docker, Thomas Chabot, and current Notre Dame teammate and former fifth overall selection in last year’s draft, Jake Sanderson? This is truly music to the ears of Senators fans from coast to coast. Needless to say, the future is extremely bright in Canada’s capital city.
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