Montreal Canadiens prospect Rafaël Harvey-Pinard has an opportunity to impress the Canadiens’ management team and give himself a head start before training camp next fall.
Recalled from Laval on Wednesday morning, Harvey-Pinard has been the heart and soul of the Laval Rocket for the better part of two seasons now. The gritty winger now has a golden opportunity to show he can do the same for the Canadiens in the not-so-distant future.
Long Road To The Montreal Canadiens
The 23-year-old has improved by leaps and bounds since being selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the 7th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Harvey-Pinard began his pro career a little later than most, making the jump to the AHL at age 21, but he hit the ground running with the Laval Rocket and had an immediate impact on the team as a rookie. In 36 games last season, Harvey-Pinard put up nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points, which is more than acceptable for a player who was utilized in a bottom-six setting.
It wasn’t Harvey-Pinard’s offence that necessarily wowed the fans, but his relentless motor and never-say-die attitude on the ice. Those who hadn’t followed the young man in the QMJHL quickly fell in love with Harvey-Pinard’s honest and aggressive style. His wearing of No. 11, his effort and his sparkplug style of hockey earned him the moniker of “Lavallagher”, as fans began to compare the style and impact of Harvey-Pinard in Laval to that of Brendan Gallagher with the Montreal Canadiens.
Harvey-Pinard took that momentum with him in the 2021-2022 season, starting once again on the bottom-six for the Rocket, while working his way into a permanent fixture in the Rocket’s top-six. As the season wore on, Harvey-Pinard began to take on a more offensive role with the Rocket, while being used in all situations. At the time, his offensive numbers followed the same pace as the year before, but one instant proved to be the turning point for the young man.
In late December 2021, as the Canadiens were on the road in the southern United States and Quebec was completely locked down, the Montreal Canadiens called up Harvey-Pinard due to the growing list of injuries and Covid-19 infections. In his first game, against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Harvey-Pinard immediately made his presence known and scored early in the second period.
That goal gave the Canadiens prospect some jump, as he didn’t look out of place in an NHL bottom-six; providing energy and solid two-way play in the three games he suited up for. He was ultimately sent down in early January as the Canadiens’ players returned from their Covid-19 isolation, but his time with the Canadiens seemed to change everything for Harvey-Pinard.
Welcome to the show, kid. 🤩
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 29, 2021
Offensive Explosion In Laval
That goal gave the Canadiens prospect some jump, as he didn’t look out of place in an NHL bottom-six; providing energy and solid two-way play in the three games he suited up for. He was ultimately sent down in early January as the Canadiens’ players returned from their Covid-19 isolation, but that callup seemed to change everything for Harvey-Pinard.
He returned to the Laval Rocket hungrier and more motivated than ever, and it showed on the ice and on the scoresheet. In the 39 games following his call-up with the Montreal Canadiens, Harvey-Pinard has put up 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points; effectively obliterating his previous offensive totals from the last year. He’s been particularly effective over the last month, posting 12 points in his last eight games, all while being the most energetic player on the ice.
Now that Harvey Pinard has earned a call-up due to Michael Pezzetta’s suspension and Paul Byron’s injury, he has an opportunity to show the Montreal Canadiens that he belongs in their plans for the future. Although the recent offensive touch that he’s found in the AHL may be unsustainable at the next level, his relentless effort on every shift and his aggressive style would make him a solid bet for bottom-six duties next season.
The youngster has everything the Canadiens could ever want on their bottom six, as he can play in all situations and will never give you less than 110% on the ice. Over the next couple of games, it’ll be up to Harvey-Pinard to show the management team and fans that he’s now ready to make that jump.
Les Canadiens ont rappelé l'attaquant Rafaël Harvey-Pinard du Rocket de Laval.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 20, 2022