Canadiens Sign Primeau & Poehling

The Montreal Canadiens were busy Sunday when they signed two of their best prospects to entry-level contracts.

The team would start the day by signing Poehling, their 2017 first-round pick after the 20-year-old spent three seasons at St. Cloud State University. They’d follow that up by signing Primeau, their 7th-round selection from 2017 who just completed his second season at Northeastern University.

Primeau Exceeded Draft Status

While Poehling and Primeau were selected at opposite ends of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, it’s important to note that Primeau may even be the Canadiens highest-upside prospect.

In 34 games in his first season at Northeastern, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound goaltender would compile a very impressive 19-8-5 record with a sparkling 1.92 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. He’d do even better in his second season, compiling a 25-10-1- record with a 2.09 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

Cayden Primeau Northeastern Beanpot
Cayden Primeau of the Northeastern Huskies leading his team into the 2019 Beanpot (Jim Pierce/Northeastern Athletics)

The Vorhees, New Jersey-native just concluded his second NCAA season and both he and the Canadiens had a mutual interest to bring him into their system. With Carey Price locked up to a long-term contract, Primeau should get ample time to learn how to be a professional player at the AHL level over the next few seasons.

He’ll join the Laval Rocket on a professional tryout agreement for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

Poehling Already a Mature Prospect

For Poehling, the Canadiens are getting one of the most mature players coming out of the entire 2017 Draft Class. While it’s important to look for high upside in draft picks, especially in players selected in the first round, Poehling brings a very high floor to the Canadiens roster and should undoubtedly be a solid addition to their team for years to come.

Ryan Poehling Canadiens
Ryan Poehling has signed his entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Because Poehling is signing a contract at 20 years old, his contract will immediately kick in now and burn a year off of his first deal. If the Canadiens feel that Poehling can contribute right away in their lineup, he should be more than capable of filling a role. As a result, he’ll finish the rest of the season on the NHL roster. This is an interesting call with the team deep in a playoff race with the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets.

An important not on Poehling is the fact that his Waiver Age is 19 and as such, he would require 11 games this season to earn a professional season accrued which effects Expansion eligibility. The Canadiens only have three games remaining on their regular season schedule so that won’t be an issue.

In Poehling’s first season at St. Cloud State, he would score seven goals and 13 points in 35 games. The totals weren’t eye-popping but the Canadiens scouting staff did their job and saw the upside that the Lakeville, Minnesota-native brought to the table. He’d reward the team with a career-high 14 goals and 31 points in 36 games in his sophomore season before adding another eight goals and 31 points in 36 games this past season.