Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield
is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season and before he gets to that point, the team would like to lock him up long-term, ideally.
When speaking to the media on Friday, Caufield told reporters that contract talks are 'in the back of my mind', as it was reported earlier this week that the Canadiens have begun preliminary discussions with his camp a month ago.
"You try not to (think about it), but you really can't really get away from it," Caufield said. "It's everywhere, you hear it a lot. But for me, (I'm) just trying to stay away from it. It's going to happen when it happens."
He added, "Obviously, I love being here. I love this team and this group of guys, so (I'll) just take it one step at a time, but for sure it's in the back of my mind,"
The 22-year-old was having a solid season for the Canadiens, until the announcement came on Saturday morning that he will miss the remainder of the season and undergo right shoulder surgery.
In 46 games, the Stevens Point (Wisconsin) native had 36 points (26 goals, ten assists), two penalty minutes and was a minus-ten.