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PensBurgh Top 25 Under 25: #17 - Judd Caulfield

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The big power forward is making positive strides in his development.

2019 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images

Our annual, 2021 version of the top players under the age of 25 in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.

2021 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: Graduates and Departed

#25: Santeri Airola
#24: Jan Drozg
#23: Will Reilly
#22: Clayton Phillips
#21: Chase Yoder
#20: Kirill Tankov
#19: Raivis Ansons
#18: Lukas Svejkovsky

#17: Judd Caulfield
2020 Ranking: 24
Age: 20 (March 19, 2001)
Height/Weight: 6’4”/205 lbs.
Acquired Via: 2019 NHL Draft - Round 5; Overall: 145

Highlights:

On the above play, Caulfield says: “Alright, I’ll do this myself.” Carries the puck, gets it on net, and his teammate, Jasper Weatherby, buries it for the goal. This reinforces the longstanding thought process of getting every puck to the net, no matter how broken the play is. You never know if/when/how the biscuit will find its way past the goalie.

Here’s Caulfield again, receiving an errant puck in the slot and putting it on the net. Looks like he gets his own rebound and coolly slides it past the keeper.

Elite Prospects Resume:

Updated Scouting Reports (via DobberProspects):

May 2021 – Caulfield finishes his second season in the NCAA with an NCHC Championship. The Penguins 2019 pick demonstrated an ability to play on a top line this year, however, the production is yet to come. He forechecks well and makes space for his teammates, but doesn’t display any ability to create offense for himself. Caulfield remains unsigned by the Penguins with two years of NCAA eligibility remaining. Kyle Watson

February 2021 – Caulfield put up just one assist in his first twelve games with UND this season, but has four goals and four assists in his last eight outings. The 2019 fifth-round pick has benefitted from playing on the wing of team leading scorer, Shane Pinto. Kyle Watson

Season Review:

2020-21 (Sophomore): Saw action in 25 games ... Nearly matched his point total from his rookie year with 11 points ... Tallied four goals for the second straight year ... Named an NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete and a member of the NCHC All-Academic Team for the second straight season ... Registered a +11 rating ... Notched his first assist of the year in the win over Colorado College (Jan. 10) ... Picked up goals in back-to-back victories over Colorado College (Jan. 24) and Omaha (Jan. 29) ... Sealed the win over Denver (Feb. 13) with an assist and goal in the third period ... Scored a goal and provided a helper in a victory over the Mavericks (Feb. 26) ... Notched the primary assist in the game-tying goal against St. Cloud (Mar. 16) in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff title game ... Had an assist in the NCAA Tournament victory over American International (Mar. 26) ... Earned AHCA All-America Scholar honors for the second straight year.

Caulfield’s second collegiate season saw him make incremental progress towards rounding out his game. With 23 points in 56 career games for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, it’s becoming clear that his role is the prototypical, big-bodied, gruff power forward. There are no flashy dangles or quick snipes, just a responsible, inoffensive winger who plays a big game with a big frame.

Caulfield’s PNHLe projection. PNHLe is defined as a value that projects a prospect’s point potential at the NHL level. It takes into consideration point production (i.e., points-per-game), the league a prospect plays in, their age and the position they play.
DobberProspects

Caulfield doesn’t try to play a game he knows he can’t execute. He’s accepted his role as the big man, and plays into it very well.

Because of this, he still projects to be a depth player at the NHL level, but not one that’s devoid of skill or looks out of place when compared to his teammates.

Caulfield still has two years of NCAA eligibility left and the Penguins will retain his NHL rights until August 15, 2023. All this being said, Caulfield still has work to do and is, realistically, years away from even sniffing the NHL. But if he maintains this kind of trajectory, the Grand Forks, North Dakota native could become another solid late-round contributor to an NHL squad sooner rather than later.