Canadians can’t miss the opportunity to play at Primeau
According to reports, the Montreal Canadiens plan to play goaltender Cayden Primeau in one of their next straight games against the Calgary Flames this weekend. Why stop there, however?
Obviously, Primeau should dress as Jake Allen’s replacement with the starter. Carey Price with a concussion. With the Canadiens in the middle of a long run to the playoffs (hopefully), they obviously need all the points they can get. From that perspective, head coach Dominique Ducharme probably feels like he has no choice but to play the most experienced goalie he has and that is Allen. No argument here.
However, here’s the other side of the story: While he’s played pretty well this season (2.52 goals against average, 0.914 save percentage for Wednesday night’s action), Allen does. just not getting the results the team needs (7-8-4). For example, when Price was last with a nagging lower-body injury last week, Allen went 2-4 with a .900 save percentage.
Primeau vs. Allen
Now it’s nothing against Allen. While her performance hasn’t been out of this world lately, it has passed the eye test. He was good and, more importantly, good enough to win, assuming the team in front of him had played their game. The Canadiens just weren’t. Ducharme may need to change the situation a bit and see how the Habs react to another keeper at the net.
That said, another argument against the inclusion of Primeau is clear. Why would the Habs risk spoiling their development by playing him when the team is struggling so hard, having gone 5-7 since returning from his absence due to NHL COVID-19 Protocol? Why subject their precious goalie hope to all of this?
Well, there might be a point, but the point is, the decision has already been made, Canadians are going anyway. Allen shouldn’t have to play back-to-back games. So his replacement, Primeau, is going to get one. Instead, the question is about how many games the Habs should play at Primeau. Do they stop at one?
Potentially, if his performance is not up to par. However, if he can play just one game and does well, the Canadiens have a real opportunity to give Primeau the chance to gain more NHL experience (with him having played two games in December 2019).
Primeau needs to play
Second, if Canadians really feel that Primeau should be kept as far away from this dysfunctional situation as possible, what’s the point of playing the rest of the calendar? If this is the case, they should a) simply forgo the remaining 13 matches in the program and forgo their realistic shot at a playoff spot and b) wondering why the hell Primeau is here to begin with, after commuting from the cab squad since Price first got hurt.
Of course, these are transactions on paper and Primeau has not physically gone back and forth. However, he also didn’t play, with his American Hockey League page documenting his last game as having taken place on April 2 (for the record, a shutout against the Stockton Heat, the Flames’ AHL affiliate, quite a bit. by chance).
Obviously, with the need for a taxi team this season, the development of prospects has taken a hit. For example, Charlie Lindgren has spent the vast majority of the season in limbo, unable to play. Having failed to catch up with the Habs so far after six seasons of games with the team, Lindgren has been viewed by many on the outside as collateral damage, while still respecting the utmost professionalism he has shown. proof this campaign. An unrestricted free agent on hold, the 27-year-old is likely on the verge of leaving the organization and has spent the season acting like a contingent.
The development of the hopes of Canadians in question
Consider the following: With Price absent, the Canadiens reassigned Lindgren to the taxi team. They’ll take him to meet the squad, potentially doing nothing more than missing out on games as the squad’s third player, behind Allen and Primeau. So be it. It’s his job and he gets paid to do it. This whole pandemic has obviously been professionally catastrophic for him, but from an organizational perspective, is he better to sit than Primeau, right?
You would think so anyway. However, the team’s decision-making recently has been curious. Of course, Canadians send Lindgren on a private charter so he doesn’t need to quarantine. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Just keep this fact in mind.
The Habs opted to bring West top prospect Cole Caufield with them on their road trip. In theory, the idea of promoting him from AHL to help increase the team’s beleaguered production is a good idea. However, they can’t play it due to the cap constraints and they know it too. Indeed, according to Ducharme during a recent media availability session, the Habs only brought Caufield with them to spend time with the team and see how it all works.
It was a nice gesture on their part, but still strange. There would have been nothing wrong with keeping him with the Laval Rocket, even with a fairly light schedule ahead of him. Now that several AHL games have been postponed giving them three games in four nights, that is, enough playing time, makes even less sense. Given that Lindgren flew in a private plane, Caufield has the option of doing the same the other way around, but no announcement to that effect has been made, at least not yet until Wednesday night’s action. .
Obviously, Caufield’s development won’t be shot due to a few missed games, but these are all signs of a trend and an embarrassment on top of that. Remember, in Primeau’s case, as mentioned earlier, he hasn’t played in weeks. With Price now 33 and cracks in his game, Primeau’s place with the Canadiens should be clear in this, like Caufield, he is an incredibly valuable asset. To some extent, yes, treat him with children’s gloves, but please put him in a position to be successful. You can’t be successful if you don’t play.
Of course, as Canadians have proven in spades recently, you can lose too. This is all the more reason to try something new, or to try someone new to be more precise. Getting Primeau in a single match is definitely a start. Leave it to him and how he plays to determine if he gets another one before Price comes back. Take it one game at a time. At this point, when the Habs are struggling as much as they are, the concept is generally true. Extend its application from the net, even if only for the good of the franchise in the long run.