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Rafaël Harvey-Pinard: a short-term contract is the most likely option

Last year, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard was one of the big stories in Montreal. The young Quebec striker, who came to town because of numerous injuries, quickly began scoring goals by the ton, touching the target 14 times in 34 games with the big club in 2022-23.

Is this a pace (some 30 goals in 82 games) he can maintain over a full season? I don’t know, but clearly, he’s shown some promise.

And in addition to scoring, RHP stood out for his good play on the ice. Without being spectacular, he does all the right things on the ice and makes his teammates look good.

Now a restricted independent player (with arbitration rights), the possibility of him signing a long-term contract at a lower salary has been raised in recent weeks. However, according to Arpon Basu, the most likely avenue is a short-term contract for the Quebec forward.

In reality, Harvey-Pinard has earned points this year and has a good chance of starting next season with the big club. So, if he feels he can continue to perform well, it’s to his advantage to sign a shorter pact to continue to increase his value.

He’d be betting on himself and hoping to sign a long-term contract with a bigger annual salary in a few years’ time.

As for Alex Belzile, who also did well with the big club last year, he would like to try his hand at signing a one-tier contract, which the CH doesn’t really seem to want to give him at the moment. The club knows there will be congestion on the wing, and they don’t know if it’s realistic to see Belzile in the NHL next year.

So, the chances of Belzile testing the independent market this summer look good. That said, if he doesn’t find an offer to his liking on the market, a return to Montreal remains more than possible.

Will he feel a little less love from management in Montreal, a factor that prompted him to stay last summer?

I admit I’d love to see him back in the organization, he’s been an important leader in Laval for the past few years and can help out on a fourth line (he had 14 points in 31 games this year), but I don’t blame him if he wants to test his value on the market.

Finally, unsurprisingly, Denis Gurianov will not receive the qualifying offer ($2.9 million for one year) from the CH. That said, it’s not totally impossible that he could return to Montreal if he agrees to come back at a lower salary.

But, like Rem Pitlick last year, he will become an uncompensated independent player. He could therefore come to an agreement with any club.

So, there are three issues to keep an eye on in the days and weeks to come, but clearly, the CH’s autonomous players will be the focus of attention between now and July 1. And that’s not counting Sean Monahan, who could also come back to town if he doesn’t ask for a ton of money.

In gusto

– Kyle Dubas now has a doctorate in his pocket. Well done.

– I doubt it too.

– Obviously.

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