Montreal Canadiens: Why Do Habs Skaters Hate Cayden Primeau?

Jan 18, 2024; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Cayden Primeau (30) makes a a save in
Jan 18, 2024; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Cayden Primeau (30) makes a a save in / Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens have been going with a three goalie system all season. It isn't the usual way to run an NHL team, but they can't seem to find a trade that works for them to free up the logjam.

This has made it impossible for anyone to get into a rhythm in the Canadiens crease. Sam Montembeault has looked the best out of the three, but he sometimes goes a handful of games without playing because Jake Allen and Cayden Primeau need time in the goal as well.

While the person in the Canadiens crease has been anything but a constant, the team in front of the netminder has looked consistent, at least when Primeau is in goal. And that is not meant to be a compliment in this case.

Primeau has played just ten of the team's first 45 games this season. While his games played numbers are low, the team in front of him is doing everything they can to ensure he faces as many shots as a goalie who gets the call far more often.

Primeau's latest game was not his best, as he allowed five goals to the Ottawa Senators. But it was far from the team's best game as well. The Sens were all over the Canadiens, peppering the Habs young goaltender with shots and getting chance after chance even while shorthanded.

The Senators fired 36 shots on Primeau, a busy night for a goaltender in the NHL, but far from Primeau's heaviest workload. In fact, of Primeau's ten games played, facing 36 shots was just the fourth most he has seen this season.

Primeau saw the most rubber on December 9th when the Buffalo Sabres fired 48 shots on goal and Primeau stole the win for the Canadiens. He also faced over 40 shots against the Vegas Golden Knights on November 16th when the defending Stanley Cup champs blasted 42 shots on goal in a decisive win.

The Philadelphia Flyers also kept Primeau busy when they fired 39 shots his way in a game the Canadiens lost in overtime. Another point stolen by the goaltender. Aside from a quiet 21 shots night against the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, Primeau has faced at least 29 shots in each of his starts.

The 24 year old has faced a total of 340 shots in just ten games or an average of exactly 34 pucks per night. It isn't a huge difference, but Montembeault and Allen have faced less shots per game this season.

Is it a coincidence, or do the Canadiens skaters just like to make Primeau's life miserable? It's probably a coincidence, or just a sign of a greater problem that the team is allowing way too many shots against on a nightly basis.

Whatever the case, there is no question Primeau is being asked to do the impossible by starting every four or five games and getting hammered with 35 shots in every appearance. The fact he has been able to maintain a .900 save percentage is an impressive feat.