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10-19-2009, 12:20 PM
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Keith Primeau

Keith Primeau will add a ton of size and toughness to the Renfrew Millionaires. He's a very good defensive centre, and will give us an excellent option for matching up against bigger centres. He'll take a lot of our important defensive zone faceoffs, using his strength on the draw and defensive ability.

Primeau is also a strong scoring option for a third or fourth line. This isn't immediately evident in his stat line as he played in the dead puck era, wasn't a big power play scorer, and often missed about 10 games a season, so he doesn't always have high scoring finishes.

I ranked all the forwards of the dead puck era (1995-2004) in non-power play scoring (Primeau's primary role here). Among forwards with at least 7 seasons worth of games played, Primeau was 28th in non-PP points per game. Here are his numbers, along with the players with similar numbers. Goals, assists, and points are per 82 games.

Rank Player Seasons Goals Assists Points
1 Jaromir Jagr 9.15 34 41 75
2 Peter Forsberg 7.48 22 44 66
3 Eric Lindros 7.13 28 38 65
4 Joe Sakic 8.87 26 35 61
24 Steve Yzerman 8.19 16 30 46
25 Daniel Alfredsson 7.67 20 27 46
26 Adam Oates 9.06 12 34 46
27 Jarome Iginla 7.63 24 22 46
28 Keith Primeau 8.39 20 26 46
29 Markus Naslund 8.89 23 22 45
30 Brendan Shanahan 9.60 23 23 45
31 Mark Messier 8.63 18 27 45
32 XXXXX 9.05 21 23 45
33 Ron Francis 9.73 14 31 44

The player I X'd out has not been drafted but was drafted last draft and likely will be in this draft.

Primeau's non-power play scoring was similar to late-career Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, and some other very good players, although admittedly not all are in their prime for all these years as Primeau was.

Primeau was superb on faceoffs. See this Sporting News article from 2001.
In 1994-95, the Red Wings were easily the most talented team in the league. They finished with a league-best 33-11-4 record in the lockout-shortened season. Primeau was the team's best faceoff man, and the Wings dominated on the power play in part because of his skill at winning draws.

"Some games it seemed like they had the puck for the entire two minutes of a power play--or until they scored," Devils defenseman Scott Stevens said at the time. "If you lose a power-play faceoff, you could lose 30 seconds of that power-play time. Same thing with a penalty kill. If you win that faceoff, you can gain 30 seconds of possession."

In the Cup finals, the Devils got a break when Primeau sustained a stomach-muscle injury early in Game 1 and Detroit lost, 2-1. Suddenly, the Red Wings' edge in faceoffs was gone. Before Game 2, Bowman knew the tide had turned.

"We're going to try and play a game without faceoffs," he said, laughing. The Devils went on to sweep.
Later in the article:
Flyers center Keith Primeau has long been one of the best faceoff men around. Recently, he sat with THE SPORTING NEWS and told us who the toughest faceoff men in the league are.
Among the players Primeau named was former Detroit teammate (and Renfrew Millionaires ATD teammate) Sergei Fedorov.

From Hockey Digest in 2001:
Many feared Primeau would be lost for the rest of the playoffs, but he bounced back and turned in a solid performance against the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference finals.

When he was not battling with his fists, Primeau also battled the Devils' Bobby Holik for faceoffs and controlled the lion's share.

Primeau, one of the league's bigger multi-skilled centers, enjoys physical play. "I try to use my size to my advantage, defensively, Down low in the corners and on faceoffs, and, offensively, down low in the corners and in front of the net," he says.

"I like his size," says Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland. "Anybody that big, who can play in every situation, and has pretty decent skill level is a very valuable commodity."
I also want to address the possible concern that Primeau will be a liability because he takes too many penalties. While he spent a lot of time in the penalty box, especially early in his career, he usually took a man from the other team off with him.

In 1995-96, Primeau took 168 minutes in penalties. Of these, 50 were from misconducts. 45 were from majors where a player from the other team also took a major (mostly for fighting). 22 were for minors where an opposing player went off also. He only took 23 minor penalties and 1 major penalty that put his team down a man, or 51 penalty minutes. That's not a terribly low number, but he's not a liability.

Last edited by overpass: 10-19-2009 at 02:12 PM.
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