Montreal Canadiens: Top 31 Prospects – #24 Cayden Primeau

Jan 22, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Montreal Canadiens. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Montreal Canadiens. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Montreal Canadiens fans don’t get a lot of breaking news in the month of August, so here at A Winning Habit, we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 31 prospects currently in the Habs organization. Each player was carefully deliberated by our writers and ranked accordingly. Today, we’re onto the number 24 ranked prospect, Cayden Primeau.

Primeau was a seventh-round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, and he had NHL bloodlines, both his dad Keith and his uncle Wayne had long careers in the league. The Farmington Hill, Michigan., native played his 2016-17 season in the USHL with the Lincoln Stars, where he posted a 14-11-2 record, along with one shutout. His junior numbers weren’t anywhere close to stellar, but he gave the Canadiens some hope with his play in the NCAA with Northeastern University.

The 6’3″ 209-lb netminder was the starter for the Huskies during his two-season college career. Primeau played 70 games and boasted a 44-18-6 record, along with a .932 save percentage and 2.00 goals/against average. From NCAA (New England) rookie of the year to Hockey East goaltender of the year and NCAA (Hockey East) champion, Primeau cleaned up at the awards showcase to end his collegiate career.

As we speak, Primeau looks ahead to a battle for the net in Laval, with fellow goaltending prospect Jakub Dobes. It seems more likely than not that the tandem will be the Rocket’s two goalies for 2023-24, with the NHL roster being covered by Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen. Primeau has looked strong in the AHL, but his NHL play hasn’t mirrored that, as he has struggled to find any consistency. The addition of Casey DeSmith now only further complicates Primeau’s future with the club.

The ’23-’24 campaign will be a big one for Primeau, as he has some competition, both now and in the future, to unseat his position with the Rocket. A big season could earn him confidence, and if the Habs decide he has played well enough, maybe Allen becomes expendable at the trade deadline. His professional career has started strong, but the next step to the Habs hasn’t quite come together yet.

If Primeau can’t pull it altogether this season, it is very possible that Dobes leapfrog him, and he will start to feel the pressure of his future with the Canadiens slipping away from him. With no clear number-one starter right now, on the roster or in the prospect pool, there is a big opportunity available to Primeau, and he would be best suited to grab it now before the younger guys like Fowler and Miller start nipping at his heels.

Primeau could certainly see a leap up the list during next year’s rendition of the top 31 prospect rankings if he can manage to find consistency if he gets a chance in the NHL. He has the size and the NHL bloodlines and has shown glimpses of his abilities, but he needs to assert himself, and a battle with Dobes will be very telling. For now, however, Primeau ranks as the Canadiens’ number 24 ranked prospect.

Related Story. Montreal Canadiens: Top 31 Prospects – #25 Miguël Tourigny. light