Main Photo: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Montreal Canadiens have been plagued with the injury bug all season. The injuries to key players on the team have led to numerous AHL guys getting a shot with the big club. With every player that goes down, it creates a hole to fill and therefore an opportunity for someone else. Names like Rem Pitlick, Alex Belzile, Jesse Ylonen, and Justin Barron, have all shone in their roles since being called up to the big club. However, one player, in particular, has shone above the rest this season. That player is Montreal Canadiens Rafael Harvey-Pinard.
Emergence of Harvey-Pinard
Harvey-Pinard makes a Name For Himself
Since being recalled by the Canadiens on January 23, Harvey-Pinard, or RHP, has been nothing short of brilliant. The Quebec native has registered eleven points in just fifteen games, which includes seven goals. His, seven goals already have him in seventh place on the team, in a fraction of the games. This production, coupled with RHP’s tenacious style of play has led him to become a fan favorite in Montreal. Montreal Canadiens Rafael Harvey-Pinard resembles a current player. His tenacity has led many to draw comparisons to Habs forward Brendan Gallagher.
The twenty-four-year-old has also managed to find some chemistry with habs captain Nick Suzuki. Suzuki pointed out that he and Harvey-Pinard had played together before at the Vegas Golden Knights training camp. Suzuki admitted they had some chemistry back then as well.
Prior to his call-up last month, Montreal Canadiens Rafael Harvey-Pinard had spent the last three seasons with the Laval Rocket in the AHL. In 37 games with the Rocket this year, he managed 25 points including 15 goals. His best season came last year when he notched 56 points in 69 games. He also hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his professional career as he managed to pot 21 on the year. RHP attended the Golden Knights training camp before being drafted as an overager by Montreal in the seventh round of the 2019 entry draft. He spent his junior career in Rouyn-Noranda with the Huskies where he was selected to represent the QMJHL as an all-star on two occasions.
Future for Harvey Pinard with the Canadiens
Harvey-Pinard is proving to everyone that he’s a bonafide NHL player. His play warrants a spot for him on next year’s Habs roster. His chemistry with Suzuki may even give him a top-six role. How he meshes with Cole Caufield next once he returns will dictate if he is to remain on that line for the future. Unless the Habs opt to split up Suzuki and Caufield in favor of playing him with Kirby Dach, who has found a new level of late. Even if he is bumped out of the top six, however, Harvey-Pinard’s versatile style of play makes him capable of playing in any given role. Which makes him a great asset to the team.
Harvey-Pinard is an RFA after this year and is due for a raise from the 825, 000 he is currently making after signing a deal in 2021. Kent Hughes may opt to extend RHP long-term. This would allow him to keep the player under team control at a reasonable cap hit for the future.
The future is bright for the Habs youngster Rafael Harvey-Pinard. He’s already a fan favorite in the city of Montreal and is due for a nice pay raise this summer. It’s doubtful he will be seeing Laval anytime soon with this level of play. The Montreal Canadiens may have just found themselves their next Brendan Gallagher.