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Habs' Caufield on extension talks: 'I love being here'

Cole Caufield Montreal Canadiens Cole Caufield - The Canadian Press

Cole Caufield is trying his best to ignore the contract negotiations that have started behind the scenes with the Montreal Canadiens.

The 22-year-old forward has found success on the ice since Martin St. Louis took over head coaching duties midway through last season, making his long-term future in Montreal a hot topic.

“It’s everywhere, you hear it a lot,” Caufield told reporters on Friday. “For me, it’s just trying to stay away from it. It’s going to happen when it happens. I love being here. I love this team and this group of guys. Just take it one step at a time, but for sure it’s in the back of my mind.”

Currently scheduled for restricted free agency this summer, the 15th overall pick in 2019 acknowledged his representatives are talking to the Canadiens about a deal, but added he steers clear of the negotiation process.

“They’ve already started and it’s not really me doing the talk and doing the business – it’s those guys,” said Caufield. “It’s crazy, it’s a cool business to be a part of, but I try to stay away from those things and let them handle it.”

With 26 goals, Caufield is 11th among all NHL goal scorers this season, just one behind Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl for a top-10 spot. He has 36 points in 46 games this season.

After scoring just five goals in 40 games prior to St. Louis’ arrival last season, Caufield finished off the 2021-22 campaign with 22 goals in 37 games.

The Mosinee, Wisc., native credits St. Louis and the Montreal coaching staff for the turnaround in his production.

“You never really want to be satisfied with where you’re at and the development side of things,” Caufield said. “I have fun with it. Every game, you’re learning something new. We have great staff behind us teaching things and talking to us after every game.

"The little things you pick up, they can go a long way. Marty is a big help with me and the rest of the group as well."