The Montreal Canadiens placed Cole Caufield on the team's taxi squad Friday, but head coach Dominique Ducharme said cap space issues will keep the highly-touted forward prospect out of the lineup for now.
Ducharme said that due to the team's salary cap situation, they won't be able to dress any member of the taxi squad unless there's an injury to one of the 20 skaters on their roster. He noted that Canadiens management have yet to decide on whether or not Caufield will accompany the team on their upcoming western road trip for morning skates and practices. The team could elect to return the winger to Laval Rocket ahead of their next game on April 21.
The 20-year-old American, who was selected 15th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, has three goals and one assist in just two games in the AHL this season. Caufield tallied 30 goals and 22 assists over 31 games with the Wisconsin Badgers during the 2020-21 season, his second year with the school. He won the NCAA's Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's best player.
The right winger scored two goals and added three assists over seven games at the 2021 World Junior Championship, helping the United States beat Canada in the gold-medal game.