2016-17 Team: Lincoln Stars (#29)
Date of Birth: August 11, 1999
Place of Birth: Voorhees, New Jersey
Ht.: 6’4” Wt.: 185 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: Prospect is eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
- NHL Central Scouting: 4th (NA, Mid-term)
- NHL Central Scouting: 7th (NA, Final)
- Bob McKenzie: 47th (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 51st (March)
- Jeff Marek: Unranked (October)
- ISS: Unranked (May)
The son of former NHLer Keith Primeau, Lincoln Stars goalie Cayden Primeau remains a top prospect despite struggling through the early stages of his first USHL campaign. His intangibles (size) and athleticism continue to attract the attention of NHL brass.
Competing in a league where it generally takes one or two seasons for goalies to make their mark, Primeau, at times, was over aggressive, which often led him to take bad angles on shot attempts. He finished the 2016-17 USHL regular season with a 14-11-0-1 record, 3.16 goals-against average and .895 save percentage. He rebounded and enjoyed a stronger second half. His 2017 NHL Draft ranking likely didn’t suffer much.
USHL draft prospect last year. NHL draft prospect this year.
— Lincoln Stars (@LincolnStars) April 27, 2017
At 6’4 and 185 pounds, Primeau proved himself as a teenager by playing against older players. As a 16-year-old, he led the EHL in GAA (1.86) and save percentage (.951). His frame and agility allow Primeau to effectively cover the net but his skills remain raw. Over the next few seasons, he will need to work on his glove hand, maintain better focus on cross-ice passes and controlling rebounds. On the plus side, he battles hard and plays with an edge.
Growing up in a hockey household, brothers Chayse and Corey are Junior-level forwards, Cayden said he had to beg his father for permission to play goalie. When the elder finally relented, the offspring developed steadily. He displays quick legs and a knack for coming up with big saves. Expected to be a rare one-and-done USHL goalie, Primeau reportedly will honor his commitment to play for Northeastern University next season.
NHL Draft Projection
Primeau is the type of netminder NHL franchises are looking to inject into their systems: big and athletic. A top 10 North American goalie prospect, he lacks experience but is expected to be drafted as high as the second round. His upside is too great for him to drop into the later rounds.
“I’ve been in the area and I’ve had the chance to watch Cayden play quite a bit growing up. He’s a terrific talent. It’s fun seeing him out there.” – John LeClair, youth coach and former NHLer
“All season long we were able to lean on him to make big plays and he executed on all fronts. He is the best goaltender that I have ever coached and I look forward to watching his career blossom over the coming years.” – Justin Grevious, Philadelphia Revolution head coach
- NHL Genes
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Controlling rebounds
- Glove hand
Insiders believe Primeau possesses the DNA and work ethic to eventually develop into an NHL goalie. Some scouts see him as a future No. 1. His large frame and unique athletic prowess will entice an organization to give him time to refine his game over the next few seasons at Northeastern and the AHL.
Risk – 2/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Goaltending – 7.5/10
Primeau competed in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game last January. Internationally, he was a member of the Gold Medal-winning U.S. Junior Select Team. In five appearances last April, he recorded three wins and two shutouts. He was named to the all-tournament team. For the U.S. Under-18 Select Team, which placed second at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, Primeau posted a 3-0 mark with a 2.59 GAA.
Jeff Hawkins is a career sportswriter who has collected eight industry awards, including two Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) honors. Hawkins has served as a beat writer for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and UHL’s Adirondack IceHawks. A husband and father, Hawkins enjoys live music, hiking, New York-style pizza with Dr. Pepper, and writing with his golden Labrador retriever “mutt” cuddled around his feet.