After a roller coaster season that saw him redeem himself with the Laval Rocket in the Calder Cup Playoffs, Montreal Canadiens goaltending prospect Cayden Primeau is once again garnering interest on the NHL trade market.
“His value definitely went back up again,” one NHL executive recently told Montreal Hockey Now. “I think what he did for the Rocket and getting them within three periods of the Calder Cup Final, showed the kid has a lot of guts and that he’s mentally tough. We all knew the skill was there but that was a really impressive run after what happened in Montreal last season.”
This NHL executive above told MHN that he’s heard the New Jersey Devils, who are currently scouring the NHL trade market for goalie help, ‘like Primeau a lot’ but the feeling around the league is that Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is still waiting to find out what will happen with Carey Price before he begins another goalie shuffle. Of course that lit the light bulb here given that we confirmed the Devils could be enticed by the right goalie in any trade package for the second overall pick, which the Canadiens have been linked to in NHL trade rumours.
There was some concern both within and around the Canadiens organization, as well as around the NHL, of how being thrown into the dumpster fire that was the 2021-22 Canadiens’ regular season would affect Primeau’s confidence going forward. With Carey Price not playing a game until April 15, and Jake Allen out of the lineup for two extended periods of time, Primeau and Samuel Montembeault, and later Andrew Hammond for a bit, became the Canadiens goalie rotation. While Primeau was putting together a respectable campaign in Laval (he finished at 16-12-3, 2.94 GAA, .909 save percentage), he struggled mightily at the NHL level going 1-7-1 with a 4.62 GAA and .868 save percentage.
As questions started to percolate about his future when the Montreal Canadiens’ season ended, Primeau quickly silenced them by going 9-5 with a 2.17 GAA and .936 save percentage before the Rocket fell to the Springfield Thunderbirds in Game 7 of the AHL Eastern Conference Final.
I can tell you that this puck scribe was asked what I thought of Cayden Primeau by more than one of the plethora of NHL pro scouts and executives at attendance for Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 in Springfield. The general assessment from them was how impressed they were with his poise and calmness that they didn’t see when he was thrown into the fire in Montreal this past season. Of course, the 22-year-old, 6-foot-3, 203-pound netminder will need to show that poise and calmness at the NHL level going forward but it appears his Calder Cup playoffs performance impressed enough of those NHL execs and scouts that watched him for the last two months to have his name come up in NHL trade rumours and banter recently.