Weâ€™ve partnered up with Pension Plan Puppets to bring to you a Player Review series, where we will be evaluating and grading the 2009-10 season for every Leaf who featured in a significant number of games for the Blue and White last season, with an eye towards 2010-11. Today we feature Wayne Primeau, profiled by Garrett Bauman.
Acquired via trade, Primeau was brought in to provide a veteran presence to a young locker room, add grit to the fourth line and fill the role of defensive faceoff specialist.
Although he did not particularly stand out during his 59 games, Primeau was relativley effective in his limited (albeit important) role. An unrestricted free agent, he is unlikely to return barring a substantial paycut from the $1.4m he earned last season.
Best-known for his faceoff skills, Primeau won 55.3% of his draws, good for second on the team (behind only Christian Hanson) among regular centres who appeared in more than 30 games. Pleasantly surprising was the respectable -1 plus/minus rating he managed to record, despite filling a predominately fourth-line role on a team with the league’s 29th-ranked goaltending.
By no means the most fleet of foot among NHL forwards, Primeau was often caught chasing the play as opposed to initiating it, and at times struggled to maintain his check or win the race to a loose puck. Accordingly, the majority of his ice time was spent in the defensive zone, as reflected by his negative CORSI (-2.85), second-worst among regular Leafs’ forwards. A healthy scratch on 9 occasions, Primeau also missed 13 games due to various injuries.
Primeau has never been considered an offensive threat during his 14 years in the NHL, and last season was no exception as he recorded the lowest point-per-game totals of his career (0.135). With a TOI/gm of only 11:02 (lowest among Leafs forwards playing more than 2 games), Primeau had only minimal opportunities to generate offense. At this stage of his career, he is best suited for a limited role as a defensive faceoff specialist, a role for which many teams may find difficult to set aside a roster spot.
24 of the Maple Leafs’ 30 wins in 2009/10 came with Primeau in the lineup.
Did Wayne Primeau fill his role adequately, or did you expect more of an impact? Do you think he will be back next season, or should the fourth-line centre role be given to a prospect (or perhaps rotated among several prospects)Â in the system?
Now itâ€™s your turn. In the comments, rate Primeau on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential, and your expectations for the season.