Grading Rafael Harvey-Pinard's season

After an encouraging rookie season, Harvey-Pinard took a big step back in 2023-24. 2024-25 will be a big year for him to prove himself.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

After Josh Anderson, the Montreal Canadien who had the toughest year has got to be Rafael Harvey Pinard.

He played above where he should have been during his rookie season, but he went m.i.a in year two. Nobody expects him to score 20 goals or provide help in the top six, but a 10-point season after scoring 14 goals the year before is quite a drop-off. The good news is that Harvey-Pinard went through some adversity in his second year, after tasting what success is like; so he knows what to do to get back to where he was before.

Coined Lavallagher, he would be wise to get right back to the meat and potatoes style that made him so well-liked with the Laval Rocket. Playing a simple game, where he is glued to the front of the net and constantly giving the opposing goaltender fits is where he excels. While he doesn't quite get under the skin of the opposition like Gallagher, he has a nose for the net and isn't afraid to get into the dirty areas.

For whatever reason, he seemed to be less effective in the trenches, almost deferring to get to the scoring areas - like he was nursing an ailment of some sort. But with a full offseason to train and prepare his body for year three, I would expect that we will see a different player in 2024-25. Going into the season with no expectations but to be consistent should be his focus.

While he is on the older side at 25 years old, he isn't the first player who carves out a role a little later in their career. So there is every reason to believe that he can make a name for himself, at minimum as a bottom-six forward. He is on the smaller side, but his hardworking game and relentless engine ensure that he gets the job done.

Any way that you cut it, it was a disappointing season for Harvey-Pinard, so his grade is a C. The hope is that he can get back to being a productive presence for the Canadiens. I think that he can, but if not he will likely find himself needing a contract next in July 2025.