Toronto Maple Leafs

The Pros and Pros of Wayne Primeau

BOSTON - MARCH 04:  Wayne Primeau #18 of the Toronto Maple Leafs and  Shawn Thornton #22 of the Boston Bruins exchange punches on March 4, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Bleacher ReportContributor IMay 17, 2010

No cons here.

Every time someone asks me what the Leafs should do about Wayne Primeau I have two words; keep ‘em.

While the Leafs finished second last in the 2009-10 regular season, I believe there’s one group you can’t blame — the fourth liners.

As strictly a fourth line center, Wayne Primeau is all you can ask for.

He kills penalties and does all kinds of dirty work for the Leafs, including dropping the mits.

His average minutes per game are about 11:00 or so.

In the bottom six it’s tough to find a harder worker than Primeau, and his percentage on the draw is unreal at 55.3 percent.

That’s even higher than the face-off wizard known as Tyler Bozak.

Brian Burke will probably forgo keeping Primeau and stick with Rickard Wallin, under Ron Wilson’s counsel. I believe that’s a big mistake.

When you look at some of the other fourth line centers in the division (Mair, Pyatt, Winchester) it’s hard to say that Primeau is out of place.

At 1.4 million per year and 33 years old, Primeau is at a place where he won’t receive more money from another team, but he isn’t exactly old either. I say sign the guy for $1.2-1.4 million next season and keep him on the fourth line.

The only upgrade I can think of is Scott Nichol, who I’d gladly welcome. But even then, a third and fourth line punch down the middle of Nichol and Primeau would be excellent.

Keep in mind, Burke wants two lines to score and two lines to mix it up.

For a guy I’m always excited to see on the ice, it’s a no-brainer to keep Primeau. He always finishes his checks, plays both sides of the puck, and isn’t a liability in the speed department.

Primeau will do exactly what he’s paid to do and give the Leafs a versatile bottom six forward who fits the mold perfectly. He’ll even drop the gloves when the Leafs need him to. What else can you ask for?

I’ll take Primeau for my “mix it up” line any day.


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