The Montreal Canadiens are one of a handful of teams that are carrying three goaltenders on their NHL roster.
Obviously they are worried about losing someone, namely Cayden Primeau in this case, on waivers if they send him down. But what is the point in keeping him if he is stuck as the team’s third string goaltender for any length of time?
The 24 year old has shown some promise as a young goalie in the AHL over the years, but needs to be playing hockey in order to get any better. Sitting in the press box and watching Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault play is not going to help his career.
The Canadiens schedule early in the season does not help either. The NHL regular season began on October 10th, and the Canadiens have played just three games so far. They are off until Saturday when they face the Washington Capitals and that will be their fourth game in the first 12 days of the season.
The Canadiens are much busier after that, but it is a long time for a goalie to sit around without facing game action. So far it was Allen who played the team’s opening game on October 11th and Montembeault has played two games since then. Primeau is yet to play at all.
This can’t be a long term plan. The team either needs to find a trade for someone, or just put Primeau on waivers and hope no one claims him. There probably is not much of a trade market for a goaltender this early in the season, but it is possible no one claims Primeau as he has not proven himself to be an NHL caliber starter, and most teams have a goaltender tandem they would prefer to keep.
Trying to find games for all three goalies is going to be difficult. The Canadiens do have six games in a ten day stretch to close out the month of October. Could they give everyone two games? If they do, it doesn’t really serve anyone well as goalies like to play more frequently when they are playing well.
It is a tricky situation, but Primeau can’t just sit and watch for months. Of course he is practicing, but goalies need game reps to improve or they will just lose confidence and drive to get better.
At this point, it seems the Canadiens are just hoping another team gets an injury and desperately trades for Montembeault to fill the void. Of course, with the Canadiens luck, one of their three goalies will be injured long term soon and the problem will resolve itself.
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