Montreal Canadiens: Cayden Primeau Adds Yet Another League Accolade

The Montreal Canadiens selected Cayden Primeau late in the 2017 NHL Draft. He was mostly known as Keith’s kid then, but has made quite a name for himself in the hockey world since then.

The Montreal Canadiens added a goaltender with a very late pick in the draft a few years ago. He wasn’t the highly sought after goaltender in his draft class, but he is quickly showing that he was worthy of much more than a seventh round pick.

Cayden Primeau was taken by the Habs with the 199th selection in the 2017 NHL Draft. There were 20 goaltenders taken in that draft before Primeau’s name was called, but none of them have the same track record as the Laval Rocket’s starter does today.

Since being selected by the Canadiens, Primeau went to Northeastern University where he quickly took over the number one role in goal as a freshman. Primeau posted a record of 19-8-5 to go with a sparkling 1.92 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. He was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team, All-Star Team and was the top goaltender in the prestigious conference as well.

Primeau’s second season with the Northeastern Huskies brought even more accolades. He was excellent again, putting up a 25-10-1 record with a 2.09 GAA and a .933 SV%. He was named to the First All-Star Team in the conference once again but also won the Mike Richter Award as the best goaltender in college hockey.

The 6’3″ netminder also secured a role representing his country at the World Juniors. The Americans lost in the final to Finland, but Primeau was exceptional. He had a 1.61 GAA and .936 SV% in five starts.

Primeau elected to leave college early and sign his entry-level contract with the Canadiens last summer. He suited up for the Laval Rocket this season, and though it took some time for him to find his game at the pro level, when he was finally trusted with the number one job he played extremely well.

The Voorhees, New Jersey native started the year extremely well with the Rocket. He won five of his first seven starts and had a .943 save percentage at that time. He was battling Charlie Lindgren for starts and kind of fell out of his rhythm after that. It has been a while since he was a backup goaltender, so it would have been an adjustment for sure.

By the end of the season, Keith Kinkaid was banished from the organization and Lindgren was called up to watch Carey Price play pretty much every NHL game. Primeau was finally trusted with the bulk of the Rocket starts and he was great once again. When the AHL paused its schedule on March 12, the Habs top goaltending prospect was on fire.

Over his last eight starts, Primeau had posted a 1.63 GAA and a .938 SV%. Laval won six of those games and had quickly jumped back into the postseason race in the AHL’s North Division. The league announced last week that it will not be returning this season, so that final stretch was the end of Primeau’s rookie pro season.

It was enough to earn him some more league recognition. The AHL announced that Primeau was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team. Primeau had some tough competition from other AHL rookies, including Jake Oettinger, who was drafted the same year as Primeau but was taken in the first round.

Between his fantastic start and great finish to the season, Primeau had some ups and downs. A cluster of games around midseason where he allowed five goals on five separate occasions over starts was a low point. Getting called up to the Montreal Canadiens for the first time and playing well in two games, including a 3-2 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators was a high.

One thing is for sure, Primeau is making it a habit to win league recognition every year. The kid who was known as Keith’s son when he was drafted less than three years ago has made quite a name for himself at every level below the NHL.

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What’s next? Well, if he continues on this trajectory he will be getting some recognition from the NHL in no time. All-Rookie NHL team next season? We will have to wait and see, but don’t be surprised if Keith starts being referred to as Cayden’s dad in the near future.

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