The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard to a two-year, entry level contract. This contract will begin next year and takes the 22-year-old skater through the end of the 2022-23 season. This signing comes on the heels of the team clinching its spot in the 2020-21 NHL postseason. The Canadiens announced the deal late Wednesday morning.
Canadiens agree to terms on a two-year, entry-level contract with forward Rafaël Harvey-Pinard.#GoHabsGo
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) May 12, 2021
Canadiens Sign Rafael Harvey-Pinard
Harvey-Pinard has a solid season with Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Laval. The former Quebec League skater posted eight goals and 19 points in 32 games in his first professional season. That was the fourth-highest total on the team behind prospects including Ryan Poehling and Jordan Weal. The per-game scoring was just .59, but nobody should dismiss a promising season for a less-regarded player such as Harvey-Pinard.
The Canadiens originally selected the Chicoutimi product in the seventh round of the 2019 Draft. He was not a top player coming out of the junior leagues, but he was part of a good draft class that also features Cole Caufield. Harvey-Pinard is on the small side at just 5’9″, 161-pounds, but he seems to have some scoring touch based on his stats to this point. It will be interesting to see how Montreal fits him into their schemes over the next two seasons.
What This Means For The Future
We shouldn’t expect to see Harvey-Pinard in 2021-22, but we can’t rule out an NHL role before this contract expires. The Habs have multiple players scheduled for free agency in each of the next several seasons. That reality, on top of a flat salary cap and the upcoming expansion draft for Seattle, means that several opportunities could exist for the Harvey-Pinard at the NHL level. The worst-case scenario is that he merely acts as AHL wing depth, but produces enough to garner interest going into the 2023-24 season. Expect every team to make signings like this over the next few weeks as preparations for next year continue.
Harvey-Pinard’s hard-nosed style and ability to collect goals by fighting for position in front of the net have earned comparisons to current Habs forward Brendan Gallagher. In fact, many fans have taken to nicknaming the prospect “Lavalagher” due to the similarities in the style of his game.
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