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Is Rafaël Harvey-Pinard a lock for next year’s roster?

If he keeps playing every game like it’s an audition, it’s hard to envision him not winning a role.

Montreal Canadiens v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens played what essentially amounts to the perfect tank game on Sunday night. They lost to the Vegas Golden Knights, but overcame a rough start to make it a competitive, entertaining game that went down to the wire. It was precisely the kind of game you want to see from the team more often in this final stretch of the season.

Aside from entertaining, competitive games, another important piece of the puzzle is evaluating who fits on next year’s roster. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard is one player that has received an extended audition this year, and he’s looking more and more like a lock to be a day-one Hab next season.

He forechecks tenaciously, he’s playing very well in his own zone, fearlessly blocking shots every game, and he’s chipping in offensively, albeit at a lesser rate than he did when he first joined the team. He’s doing every single thing that you’d ask of an effective bottom-six player, and this, while being forced to play much higher in the lineup than he’d normally be due to injuries.

I think at this point, he’s made himself a lock for next year. He has nothing left to prove in the AHL, and the effort he’s giving for a team that has been decimated by injuries can’t go unrewarded. Of course, things can always change in training camp, but at the very least, what he’s done this season should give him an inside track to a permanent spot.

He’s one of the feel-good stories for the Habs in a year where there wasn’t a whole lot to feel good about. If he keeps playing every game like it’s an audition, I’d bet the house on Martin St-Louis penciling him into the 2023-24 opening night roster the moment he sits down to think about it.

Bottom Six Minutes!

This episode is again taking a good look at the tank, and how perfect that game was as tank fuel. There’s nothing better in this season than seeing the team do well, but fall short of earning any points to worsen their lottery odds.

Apple and Spotify are embedded below, and I’d ask you to consider subscribing on your preferred platform to keep up to date with every episode.