Montreal Canadiens: Rafael Harvey-Pinard Continues Absurd Scoring Pace for Laval Rocket

LAVAL, QC - APRIL 08: Rafael Harvey-Pinard #11 of the Laval Rocket. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
LAVAL, QC - APRIL 08: Rafael Harvey-Pinard #11 of the Laval Rocket. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens have stockpiled draft picks leading up to this year’s NHL Draft that will be held in Montreal on July 7-8th.

They currently hold 14 picks in the seven round event, with the trades of Tyler Toffoli and Brett Kulak adding picks in the first and second round, as well as some other more minor tinkering that has allowed them to have three picks in the third round and three picks in the fourth round as well an extra pick in the seventh round.

Recent selections have shown that the Canadiens can unearth some really strong prospects in every round of the draft.

Their top prospects like Kaiden Guhle, Logan Mailloux, Jan Mysak, Riley Kidney and Jesse Ylonen were all taken in the top two rounds. Joshua Roy, Jordan Harris, Sean Farrell and Blake Biondi were all taken between the third and fifth rounds of recent drafts.

The Canadiens have even found plenty of value with their seventh round picks lately. Jake Evans was taken in the final round and is a fixture on the NHL roster. Cayden Primeau looks to have a long NHL future ahead of him after being taken in the seventh round. Recent NCAA National Title winner Brett Stapley was a seventh round pick as well.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard might have the longest NHL career of any of these late picks.

The 22 year old is putting together an incredible season for the Laval Rocket. After being undrafted in 2017 and 2018, the Canadiens used the 201st overall selection on Harvey-Pinard. He was described as an undersized but overly skilled winger with a tenacious attitude and unparalleled work ethic.

The Saguenay, Quebec native scored 34 goals and 78 points in 62 games for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens the following season. They appeared poised for a long playoff run but that was cut short when the league cancelled the rest of its season due to the pandemic.

Last season, Harvey-Pinard made his pro debut and scored 20 points in 36 games for the Laval Rocket. He earned a reputation as Laval’s Brendan Gallagher due to his 5’9″ and 182 pound frame, but willingness to engage in battle on every shift with players much bigger than himself.

His numbers exactly matched those of Gallagher in his rookie AHL season. Back in 2012-13, Gallagher started the year in the minors, scoring 20 points in 36 games before making the NHL roster when the lockout was settled.

This season, Harvey-Pinard is showing he is ready for the NHL whenever he gets the call.

He did start the season a bit slow, scoring just two goals and five points 17 games. Since then, he has been among the best scorers in the American Hockey League. Harvey-Pinard has 17 goals and 45 points in his last 46 games with the Rocket, earning first line minutes and becoming a go-to offensive guy for a much improved Laval team.

The Habs prospect is getting better as the season goes along, scoring two more points last night in a dominant 6-0 Laval victory. That gives him 27 points in his past 20 games played.

He has become the most dangerous player on the Rocket. The 22 year old has played in a big part in the Rocket positioning themselves for a playoff berth. The Rocket inaugural season was 2017-18 and they are yet to play a postseason game.

The Habs top affiliate has moved from Hamilton to St. John’s and now to Laval. They have not won a playoff series since 2011 and have only made the playoffs once in that time.

They are almost certain to finally make the postseason this year. With Harvey-Pinard playing as well as he is, the Canadiens AHL team will have its best chance of winning a playoff series in over a decade.

It might be their last chance to get help from Harvey-Pinard because he is going to make it tremendously difficult to send him back to the minors at next year’s training camp.

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