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Report: Habs, Caufield begin preliminary contract talks

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The Montreal Canadiens have held preliminary contract talks with pending restricted free agent Cole Caufield, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

"My understanding is that the preliminary talks of an extension between Cole Caufield's agent, Pat Brisson, and the Montreal Canadiens started roughly a month ago," Dreger said on Tuesday's "Insider Trading."

Caufield is in the final year of an entry-level contract he signed in March 2021. He's tallied 26 goals and 36 points through 44 contests this season.

The 22-year-old has blossomed into one of the premier young goal-scorers in the NHL over the past year and a half. After scoring just once in 30 games under Dominique Ducharme in 2021-22, Caufield has found the back of the net 48 times in 81 contests with Martin St. Louis behind the Canadiens' bench. Only eight players have scored more goals over that span.

Matt Boldy, drafted three slots higher than Caufield in 2019, recently signed a seven-year, $49-million extension with the Minnesota Wild.

The Canadiens are last in the Atlantic Division with an 18-23-3 record.

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