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Cayden Primeau signs three-year extension with the Montreal Canadiens

The Habs lock up their top goaltending prospect until 2025 with a one-way deal.

NHL: FEB 10 Capitals at Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have signed their last remaining restricted free agent, signing Cayden Primeau to a new three-year, one-way contract.

The contract has an average annual value of $890,000 per season, and the one-way contract means that is the salary he’ll make even if sent down to the Laval Rocket, where he is expected to be the starter.

The length and terms of the deal is a vote of confidence in Primeau, who had a great AHL playoff run. This firmly places him as the team’s goaltender of the future with the uncertainty surrounding whether Carey Price will play another game, and reports of extension talks between the Canadiens and Jake Allen.

The contract will see him earn $770,000 in 2022-23, $800,000 in 2023-24, and $1,100,000 in 2024-25.

A seventh-round pick in 2017, Primeau now has his second NHL deal. He will turn 23 years old before attending training camp in the fall, and will be waivers-exempt for the duration of the 2022-23 campaign, at no risk of being claimed by another team.

It was a difficult 2021-22 season for him. With Carey Price out for most of the year and Jake Allen dealing with injuries, Primeau was asked to provide spot duty for the NHL team, and wasn’t able to perform to the level required. Even in the American Hockey League, there was a stretch when Kevin Poulin took over the starting duties, ending the year with 18 wins to Primeau’s 16, and a better save percentage (.920 to Primeau’s .909).

The reins were handed to Primeau in the playoffs, and he re-established his place in the organization by getting the Laval Rocket to the Eastern Conference Final on a record of 9-5 with a .936 save percentage, the highest among goalies to play at least 10 post-season games. A pep talk from Allen when Primeau was in his deepest slump has been credited for bringing about the turnaround, and that mental game is the aspect that the prospect needs to focus on the most to realize his NHL potential.

With Price’s outlook not great, Primeau may need to play some games with the Canadiens in the early going alongside Allen and Samuel Montembeault. Primeau will have the performance in his first professional playoff experience to draw upon should he be called into action, and a new contract in his pocket.