Free washing machine |  Cayden Primeau is back!

Free washing machine | Cayden Primeau is back!

We had already buried Cayden Primeau in the graveyard of fallen hopes. Wondering if the young big-box goalies recruited by the organization in recent years — Joe Vrbetic, Jakub Dobes and Frederik Dichow — had any potential, or if general manager Kent Hughes shouldn’t acquire a goalie elsewhere to secure the eventual successor to Carey Price. .

Since he’s been with the Canadiens for three years now, almost all of us have made the mistake of forgetting his age, 22 years.

At the same age, Carey Price had to be content to watch Jaroslav Halak’s playoff prowess come off the bench. Most of the fans wanted to kick him out of Montreal in favor of the likeable Slovakian.

Halak himself didn’t make it to the National League until he was 23, and even began his professional career in the ECHL, as Yann Danis and Olivier Michaud were starters at Hamilton.

For the first time since 2011, the school club just reached four aces in the American League playoffs, thanks to a victory in the third period of overtime Wednesday night in Rochester.

Primeau, selected in the seventh round of the Canadiens in 2017, is the great hero of these playoffs, while being the youngest player on the squad along with Jesse Ylönen, author of the dramatic equalizer at the end of the third period.

Despite allowing five goals on Wednesday, Primeau’s stats are still remarkable: six wins, one loss, 1.93 goals against average and 0.936 save percentage.

His performances obviously don’t assure him of a number one spot in Montreal next year or the year after, but they allow us to believe again in this once-dominant goalie at Northeastern, in the NCAA, and a silver medalist at the Junior World Championships in 2019. with the American team (ironically, Ylönen had scored the first of Finland’s three goals against him in the final, Kakko Kaapo netting the winner late in the third period).

Let us also remember the wise words of former Montreal goalkeeping coach Stéphane Waite at the height of the storm, in January, when the youngster was machine-gunned like the poor ducks in the fall…

“You have to be patient with Primeau, he is still young at only 22 years old,” Stéphane Waite confided in these pages. And we shouldn’t judge him too much on the stats when he was called up because he plays for one of the worst clubs in the National League. »

Waite didn’t budge even though Primeau had just been taken out of the game three of six times during his Montreal call-ups and posted a high 4.32 average. He still drew a parallel with his former protégé in Chicago.

“Cayden is Corey Crawford from A to Z. In size, athletically, in his head, in his personality. Corey Crawford also had to improve his leg and arm speed. He often talked to Marc (Bergevin) telling him that he had a future Corey Crawford. But he averaged close to 50 games a year in the American League for five years and established himself in the National League at age 26 after 255 AL games (and played ten seasons in Chicago as No. 1, while winning two Stanley Cups). . ”

Waite had rightly recalled Primeau’s inactivity due to the pandemic. “Unfortunately, her development has been very limited for two years and it’s a shame because she got off to a good start. His first year in the American League was very good, he even played two games in Montreal where he did well. We have to find a way for him to play an average of 45 games a year. Otherwise he has it all: size, character, I love the mood of him, never too emotional, never too short either, a little boy very smart. »

Coach Jean-François Houle’s Laval Rocket is run by a group of veterans. Primeau, Ylönen, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Joël Teasdale are the only players aged 23 and under, along with Mattias Norlinder, sidelined with a head injury. Ylönen is the most productive with four points from eight games.

The conquest of the Calder Cup in 2007 allowed the Canadian to develop two regulars: Carey Price and Maxim Lapierre. Matt D’Agostini, Kyle Chipchura, Mikhail Grabovski and Ryan O’Byrne have all become regulars in the NHL, but especially elsewhere.

The 2010 semi-finals under Guy Boucher produced David Desharnais, PK Subban and Max Pacioretty (for how little he played).

If the CH can attract two or three players from the current edition (most of their hopes are in the NCAA, in Europe or in the lower ranks), they can claim victory.

John Tortorella in Philly?

The Flyers are cruelly disappointing despite enormous resources since the arrival of GM Chuck Fletcher. He this one no doubt thinks an electric shock might buy him a little grace time. This no doubt explains the invite issued to gruff John Tortorella for the head coaching job that has been vacant since Mike Yeo’s ouster. “Very lucky to have this opportunity (to be interviewed),” Tortorella, 63, told ESPN this week.

The tortorella leaves no one indifferent. Especially not the players of him. We love it or we hate it. You can quickly establish a relentless work ethic and replace a club. But it can also help drive away talented players and make Philadelphia an unappealing destination for potential free agents. We had proof of that by the thousands in Columbus. But he’s certainly Fletcher’s last asset…


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