Montreal Canadiens star Cole Caufield is a restricted free agent when the regular season officially ends. However, his season came to a surprising end of its own recently as Caufield elected to undergo shoulder surgery.

Caufield enjoyed a breakout campaign for the Canadiens prior to the surgery news. He led the team in goals with 26. He also had the second-most points of any skater on the team with 36.

Recently, the Canadiens star spoke about his decision to undergo surgery. Caufield said he would have played through it if Montreal was in a playoff race, but the Habs are far outside of that conversation.

“I feel this is the best decision, long term. It’s hard to come to that conclusion, but like I said, it’s about the long term, and it’ll all work out,” Caufield told reporters on Friday.

The Canadiens star mentioned this is an injury he’s dealt with for a while now. He first injured his shoulder on December 23, and injured it again on January 3.

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“That time was a little more painful, but our medical staff has done a great job of doing some rehab work on it and making me feel 100 percent,” Caufield said.

The Canadiens are dead last in the Atlantic Division, holding a record of 20-25-4. Montreal owns the second-worst goal differential in the Eastern Conference with a -49 mark.

Now, the Canadiens will have to make due without their rising star. It’s another injury blow in a long line of them this season. For Caufield, it’s all about getting back to full strength.

“Going forward for me, I just want to feel 100 percent and obviously work as hard as I can to be out there as soon as possible but it’s all about being healthy and being the best out there for my teammates,” Caufield said.