Jake Allen extension rumored to be great for Cayden Primeau

The Montreal Canadiens took care of their final off-season business when they signed contracts with Kirby Dach and Cayden Primeau earlier this week.

Dach, the 21-year-old center acquired in the NHL Draft, signed a four-year contract with a cap of $3.3625 million per season. There’s a bit of a risk for the team, as Dach provided very little offense in his first three NHL seasons.

However, there are more reasons to believe the contract will be a steal at the end as Dach has the size, skill and smarts to become a key contributor over the next two seasons.

The Primeau extension was just as interesting. The 23-year-old goaltender has shown a lot of potential at times since being drafted by the Canadiens in 2017. He’s yet to have a truly fantastic season in the AHL, but he’s had enough streaks that he could still turn into an NHL starter yet.

Primeau was rewarded with a three-year contract that pays him $890,000 per season. It’s a one-way deal, meaning he’ll earn that income whether he plays in the NHL or in the likely event he’s sent back to the minors to play for the Laval Rocket this season.

When he becomes eligible for waivers in 2023-24, Primeau will likely take a longer look at the NHL level, especially if he can build on his 2022 playoff success with the Rocket in the next season. .

With a three-year extension in hand, it looks like Primeau is in the plans for the Canadiens to be in the NHL in 2023-24 and 2024-25. It also looks like they’re trying to find the perfect mentor for him.

Jake Allen arrived in Montreal two years ago and came as advertised: a hugely valued teammate who was a perfect fit as a backup goaltender to an aging Carey Price. Allen played well when called up and kept the team in the playoff hunt when Price was injured in the 2020-21 season. He then quietly sat back and allowed Price to step back into the starting role as soon as he was healthy enough to do so.

The 32-year-old goaltender played admirably behind a porous defensive team last season. The numbers weren’t phenomenal, a 3.30 GAA and a .905 SV%, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Being peppered with A-grade chances every night makes it difficult to keep the GAA at a respectable level.

It seems the organization is happy with what they have seen from the veteran and are in talks with him about a contract extension.

Allen enters the final year of his current contract with a cap of $2.875 million. A contract extension would ensure the veteran is there when Primeau becomes a full-time NHL goaltender and that would be great for Primeau and the Canadiens.

Allen has been through just about everything in his career. He was a second-round pick in 2008 and became one of hockey’s top goalie prospects soon after. He won CHL Goaltender of the Year and was the starting goaltender for Team Canada at the World Juniors in 2010 when they won a silver medal.

Primeau won college hockey’s top goaltender in 2019 and helped the United States win a silver medal at the World Juniors. Like Allen, he had three decent, but not great, seasons to start his professional career.

In his fourth pro season, Allen was terrific at the AHL level, posting a 2.03 GAA and .928 SV percentage before taking over as the starter for the St. Louis Blues. Now he is ready to guide Primeau and follow in his footsteps to take the next leap in his professional career.

The Canadiens’ goaltending tandem will likely be Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault for the next season. A Primeau-Allen duo for the next two years would put the young goaltender in a strong position to succeed as he embarks on his full-time NHL career.

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