The Canadian | Cayden Primeau doesn’t mind the pressure

(Brossard) Goalkeeper Cayden Primeau is aware of the pressure he finds himself under.

He is completing his fourth campaign in the professional ranks and will celebrate his 24e birthday this summer. And even if it is normal for a goalkeeper to take a little longer to develop than a skater, time is running out for Primeau to prove that he can be the goalkeeper of the future for the Montreal Canadiens.

“You can’t become a diamond without being put under pressure (No pressure, no diamonds),” Primeau said of a quote attributed to Scottish writer and historian Thomas Carlyle.

Primeau hasn’t had much success in his NHL stints so far, as evidenced by his 3-12-2 record, 4.11 GAA and .871 save percentage.

The Canadian decided to give him a few opportunities to assert himself at the end of the campaign. The American goaltender has allowed eight goals in two outings in eight days, in losses against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Head coach Martin St-Louis said after Tuesday’s loss to the Red Wings that Primeau had been “correct” in his two recent starts. The principal concerned noted focusing on his game without emphasizing the results.

I don’t think about the score. I want to go on the ice and fight. That’s my goal, to be competitive, to give it my all on the ice

Cayden Primeau

Primeau said this approach put him in a much better frame of mind than in the past.

“I don’t let myself down and I keep playing,” said Primeau.

“Yes, you get a little bit stronger, faster and smarter every year, but it’s mostly mentally where I’ve improved the most compared to last year,” he added.

Primeau was at the heart of the Laval Rocket’s journey to the American League East final last spring. He claimed to have learned a lot from playing such important matches.

He then had a difficult start to the season this fall, before bad luck struck him. He suffered a concussion when he was hit by a stick while on the Rocket’s bench as a backup goaltender.

He didn’t get a start when he was then recalled by the Canadiens at the start of 2023, as he had only just regained his health.

Primeau has finally found its bearings in recent months with the Rocket, which finds itself in the playoff race in the North Division. The Habs’ 2017 seventh-round pick is focused on the present moment, rather than his long-term future.

“There are still important games to play with the Rocket or here,” Primeau insisted.

However, he admitted to being happy to have had the chance to show his progress by playing games in the NHL. He also hopes to have made people forget the poor performance of recent seasons.

“Last year, I wasn’t playing like I can,” he said. It was not me. It feels good to be back on the ice here and doing well, playing at the height of my abilities. »

Primeau will be eligible for waivers next season. The Canadian will therefore soon have to decide whether to make him a place with the big club by exchanging Jake Allen or Samuel Montembeault, who are also under contract for at least the next campaign, or whether he wants to risk losing him for nothing by wanting return him to the Rocket to continue his apprenticeship. Primeau’s performance between now and the end of the Canadian and Rocket season, and during the next camp, will therefore dictate this decision.

In the meantime, Primeau is not too worried about this pressure, which can only help to polish his game.

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