Montreal Canadiens: Cayden Primeau Just Hitting Stride Before Hiatus

The Montreal Canadiens have an intriguing prospect in Cayden Primeau. He was just getting rolling with the Laval Rocket before the league had to press pause for the foreseeable future.

The Montreal Canadiens added a late seventh round pick at the last second during the 2017 NHL Draft. They shipped their 2018 seventh round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a late pick in the 2017 draft. They were only slated to have one selection after the fourth round, so it made sense that they would want to add a bit more prospect capital at the time.

With the pick that they added at the last minute, the Habs selected Cayden Primeau. At that moment, he was best known for being the son of Keith Primeau who had an excellent career with the Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.

Fast forward nearly three years, and Cayden has done a great job escaping his father’s shadow in the hockey world.

After being drafted out of the USHL, Primeau enrolled at Northeastern University. He immediately earned the role as the team’s starting goaltender as a freshman, and put up exceptional numbers. He had a 1.96 goal against average and a .931 save percentage in his first year of college hockey. His second season, he put up a 2.09 GAA with a .933 SV% which was enough to earn him the Mike Richter Award as the best college goaltender in the country.

Primeau was also asked to represent his country at the World Juniors that season. He played five games for USA, posted a minuscule 1.61 GAA with a .936 SV%, helping the Americans to a silver medal. Primeau would sign his entry-level contract with the Canadiens following two very successful seasons with the Northeastern Huskies.

The 20 year old netminder started the year great with a 5-2 record and a .943 save percentage in his first seven starts. Still, he had to battle Charlie Lindgren for starts and those first seven contests were spread out over more than a month.

After such a great start, Primeau had a difficult stretch. In his next seven starts, he allowed five goals on five different occasions, four in another game and had his first shutout of the season thrown into the middle of it. He rebounded with a decent stretch of games through January and into February.

By the middle of February, Keith Kinkaid had been sent down after struggling with the Habs and continued to struggle with Laval. Lindgren had been called up to be Carey Price’s backup and with Kinkaid not playing well for the Rocket, Primeau finally started to get the bulk of the team’s starts.

He rewarded the team greatly for their confidence in him. Primeau had really found his stride lately when he was asked to carry a heavier load for the Rocket. The timing of this world wide break from the game isn’t the best for the Habs prospect.

In his last eight starts for the Rocket, Primeau had a 1.63 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. He won five of his last six starts and was carrying the team back into the playoff picture. A couple of other teams in the race got hot at the same time, but thanks to Primeau leading them, the Rocket were just four points back of the final playoff spot.

With the league on pause right now, it could be the end of the line for the Rocket’s season. If so, that is unfortunate for one of the Habs best prospects. Primeau was finally given the bulk of the team’s starts just before the league went on pause, and he showed he was not only capable of shouldering the load, but he was at his best when playing every night.

Unfortunately, he won’t get a chance to continue that great play and try to chase down a playoff spot with the Laval Rocket.

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