I’m not sure what it is with the Montreal Canadiens and the seventh round of the NHL entry draft, but they just seem to find a way to pick diamonds in the rough. In a close loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard proved that he may well be another one of those late-round steals. Frankly, he’s been proving it ever since he was called up to the show.
I’ve opined ad nauseam that the remainder of this season should be spent evaluating young players as much as possible. The laundry list of Habs injuries, while incredibly unfortunate in its length, has presented them with such opportunity to evaluate. Harvey-Pinard is on his way to becoming the success story of said evaluations.
To single out one highlight, I feel that his second goal of the night best encapsulates what he can bring at the NHL level.
YOU DOWN WITH RHP??— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) February 1, 2023
Relentless effort, coupled with good vision. After his team gains the zone, he wins possession long enough to shoot, but his work doesn’t stop there. He follows that shot to the net, gets the rebound before anyone else figures out where it is, and scores. These are things that high-quality role players do on good teams. He’s doing these things regularly on a Canadiens roster that doesn’t even have four full lines.
There is a reason that he wasn’t sent down alongside Jesse Ylonen and Alex Belzile after the game. Harvey-Pinard has proven himself as a legitimate NHL player, and the only way he should be sent back to Laval at this point is to ensure his availability for the AHL playoffs.
He’s earned his spot, and with the way he’s playing, it’s hard to see anyone taking it from him.
Bottom Six Minutes!
You may not have asked for it, but sure as god’s got sandals, we’re keeping this thing going. In this episode, I discuss everything from RHP to Brady Tkachuk’s cowardice in the face of Arber Xhekaj. I’ve embedded both the Apple and Spotify options below for those who wish to hear my ramblings.
As we work through our transitional period, I’d again ask anyone who does enjoy this series to consider subscribing for free to my substack. Nothing I post there will ever be paywalled, and whatever happens with EOTP, you can rest assured that my work will follow.