By The Numbers: Canadiens Harvey-Pinard Is More Than A Good Story
Montreal Canadiens forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard was busy on Thursday night against the New York Rangers.
The feisty forward was given almost 24 minutes of ice time, a testament to his strong work ethic and affinity for contributing every shift.
“Sometimes players force you to play them,” explained head coach Martin St-Louis. “I’m happy to see it, but I’m not surprised. They told me about him last year. He’s convincing everyone, but the most important person to convince he belongs is himself, and he’s doing that.”
Harvey-Pinard hasn’t just convinced the hockey world, he’s gone above and beyond what’s usually expected from a player who received a late-season promotion from AHL
After a disappointing start to the season with the Laval Rocket, which led to the 24-year-old dropping down the list of potential call-ups, Harvey-Pinard found his rhythm and worked his way to the team’s top line.
Harvey-Pinard’s goal tonight, we’ve got a game ladies and gentlemen pic.twitter.com/RFcWZrEkWT
— Habs Fan TV (@habsfantv_) March 6, 2023
Following an unfortunate string of injuries for the Canadiens, Harvey-Pinard finally received the call all prospects dream about, he was getting another opportunity to prove his worth in the NHL
Not only did he prove his worth, he quickly earned a promotion to the top line by producing incredible results on the fourth line, a usage that is not conducive to scoring points.
And yet, with eight goals in 22 games, Harvey-Pinard is scoring at a 30-goal pro-rated pace.
“It’s about the details in his game,” said St-Louis. “He’s always in the right spot. He has all the details. It’s rare he doesn’t read a play right. His intentions are always perfect.”
To get a better idea of how those details come into play, we can look at Harvey-Pinard’s excellent underlying numbers.
Harvey-Pinard isn’t just helping the team.
Since his call-up, he’s been far and away the best Canadiens player from a statistical point of view.
He leads the Canadiens in the following categories at 5v5 (20+ games played):
- Relative Goals Against Per 60 (-0.85)
- Goals For Percentage (58.3%)
- Expected Goals For Percentage (52.3%)
- High-Danger Scoring Chance Share (54.4)
The last statistic is probably the most important for Harvey-Pinard and the Canadiens.
To put it mildly, the Canadiens flat-out stink when it comes to controlling quality scoring chances during a game, a crucial aspect of winning hockey games.
They’ve only managed to control under 43 percent of the high-danger chances this season, which puts Harvey-Pinard’s 54.4 percent control of quality chances in a rather impressive light.
In fact, no other Canadiens player currently finds himself above 50 percent when it comes to high-danger scoring chances.
Many have said Harvey-Pinard deserves a chance at earning a permanent roster spot next season, but if all things were equal, he wouldn’t have to fight for his spot.
Harvey-Pinard’s play in the last 20 games hasn’t just been good. It’s been flat-out excellent, and worthy of giving him the inside track for a permanent job in the NHL.
All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick.
With Drouin and Byron gone next year, there does seem to be a spot open for him behind Caufield and Slafkovsky and ahead of Pezzetta. The issue though is what to do with Farrell? The bigger issue is with Gallagher, Anderson, Armia, Hoffman, Gurianov, and Ylonen all available for the right side, a lot has to give. The simple solution is to move one or two of them to their off wing (which Marty seems to like already) but that still could leave us with too many RW and/or no spot for one of Pezzetta or RHP. There’s going to have to be multiple trades to clear spots for guys coming up if we want to make space for kids who prove they’re ready. I don’t know who’s all waiver eligible next season, but storing as many of them in the AHL as possible could help the numbers game, but not necessarily their development. HuGo are going to have to be active between the end of the season and this start of next one for sure.
I get the sense Farrell is heading for the AHL next year, at least to start. But I could be, and often am wrong.
He’ll get his two games this year, but after that? I’m not convinced he’s a lock for the roster.
I agree Marc, but that still leaves us with too many bodies and not enough spots. The obvious answer everyone will say is trade Hoffman and Armia. Duh. 😁 But that’s certainly easier said than done otherwise it would have already happened. At least Hoffman will be a UFA next year, so that might make it slightly more feasible to move him by the deadline. Armia is a whole different story. Sending him to the minors would save $1.1M on the cap and open up a spot, so that’s an option I guess.
Lots of good bodies, a draft choice or 2, could be a sweet package for this year’s first round choice. …
Something to really take a close look at.