Montreal Canadiens: Cayden Primeau Needs to be Left in AHL to Develop
The Montreal Canadiens season is not going to result in a playoff appearance in 2022.
That has been painfully obvious pretty much since the first game of the season. The team struggled out of the gate and have just never gotten on the right track.
They hit the midpoint of the season with a 8-26-7 record which was last in the entire league, just a point back of the Arizona Coyotes who traded away every good hockey player they could before the season began.
Things seem to be getting worse recently. In the last ten days, the Canadiens got outclassed by the lowly (not quite as low as Montreal) Arizona Coyotes in a 5-2 loss. They did beat the Dallas Stars but it required a 48 save effort from goalie Sam Montembeault. Montembeault then made 49 saves in the next game, but the Habs still lost 4-3 in overtime to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Then it was Cayden Primeau’s turn to get shelled as he stopped 43 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Then it got really ugly. Primeau started again against the Minnesota Wild but was pulled after allowing five goals in the first 40 minutes. He faced 32 shots in those two periods.
Primeau was pulled again after allowing three goals in the opening period against the Anaheim Ducks last night.
Primeau was supposed to be the starting goalie for the AHL’s Laval Rocket this season. At 22 year old, he is still a good prospect, but he just needs time to play and develop before becoming an NHL goalie. He has been forced into duty with the Canadiens due to injuries and he just isn’t ready.
Carey Price hasn’t played a game yet this season. Jake Allen is out for two months and Montembeault returned last night from his own injury when Primeau left the game.
The Canadiens record is horrible and their defensive game is embarrassing. Standing in the crease behind this team is no place for a 22 year old goaltender looking to develop his game. Primeau is being hung out to dry and getting shelled on a nightly basis.
The Canadiens season is over already, they don’t need to end a young goalie’s career by destroying his confidence any longer than they already have. The Habs need to find a way to get Primeau back to Laval where he can start early every game and regain his confidence.
Whether that means calling up Kevin Poulin to sit on the bench and watch Montembeault, or letting Michael McNiven open the bench gate for a while, it makes more sense than continuing to put Primeau in a spot that he isn’t ready yet when he could have a bright future in front of him.
Poulin and McNiven don’t have a chance to become the next starting goaltender for the Canadiens. Primeau has that potential down the road, so the team needs to protect and preserve his development by letting him play a ton for the Laval Rocket for the rest of the season.