HabsWorld.net -- 

It took longer than many expected but the Habs have signed their last remaining restricted free agent, announcing on Thursday that they’ve inked Cayden Primeau to a three-year, one-way contract.  The deal will carry a cap hit of $890,000 and breaks down as follows:

2022-23: $770,000
2023-24: $800,000
2024-25: $1,100,000

Primeau will be a restricted free agent in 2025 and will be owed a qualifying offer of $1,068,000 at that time (the lower of 120% of the AAV versus the 2024-25 salary).  He will have salary arbitration rights at that time.

The 23-year-old is coming off a bit of an up-and-down season.  He got into a dozen games with Montreal and struggled mightily to the tune of a 4.62 GAA and a .868 SV%.  In Laval, he was a bit better with a 2.94 GAA and a .909 SV% in 33 games but his save percentage has virtually shown no improvement over his three seasons with the Rocket; the low is .908 and the high is .909.

However, things changed in the playoffs.  After not even getting the start in the opener, Primeau took over for Kevin Poulin to start the second game of their first-round series against Syracuse and never looked back.  He carried Laval on his back for the majority of their playoff run, posting a 2.17 GAA with a .936 SV% in 14 appearances as the Rocket got to the Conference Finals before falling to Springfield.

Despite having a one-way deal for next season, Primeau remains waiver-exempt and should once again be the starter with the Rocket.  Then, starting in 2023-24, he’ll be waiver-eligible and should be in the mix for a full-time roster spot with the Canadiens.  At the moment, he could slide into Jake Allen’s spot with the veteran being an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Generally speaking, contracts for players like Primeau shouldn’t have taken anywhere near this long but it’s clear the Habs wanted a third year which undoubtedly held things up.  They got their way in the end and Primeau was able to get a guaranteed NHL salary in all three years out of it which is a decent compromise in the end.

Primeau’s Stats: