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Projected line-up: doesn’t see Rafaël Harvey-Pinard in the top-12

Last year, the countless injuries to the Canadiens allowed some of the guys from the club-school to make a name for themselves in the NHL. And among the guys who jumped at the chance was Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, who took advantage of his 34 games with the big club to score 14 goals and 20 points.

And as a reward, he was awarded a handsome two-year, one-shot contract.

That said, while Harvey-Pinard showed some great things last year and probably deserves to stay in the NHL, the fact remains that last year’s injured players will return healthy this season.

And ultimately, congestion will mean he may have to fight for his position.

Earlier today, Sean Farrell (the journalist, not the player) published a text outlining the current situation in Montreal and, more importantly, a projected line-up for the club for the coming season.

A projected line-up that does not include RHP in the top-12.

What’s also noticeable is that the first trio is made up of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and… Sean Monahan. While many would see him on a second line to help a young center (Kirby Dach or Alex Newhook) in the face-off circle, Farrell sees him helping the team’s two best forwards on the first line.

Newhook and Dach play together on the second line with Josh Anderson in his projection.

As for Juraj Slafkovský, he’s also one of the 12 regulars, but he’s projected to the left wing of the fourth trio with Jake Evans and Joel Armia as partners.

The third trio is made up of three veterans in Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak and Brendan Gallagher.

What we notice is that there are really too many veterans, and that young players who are eligible for the ballot (like Harvey-Pinard) are really in danger of being dropped. Sean Farrell (the player, not the journalist), Jesse Ylönen and Michael Pezzetta, to name but a few, are also likely to suffer the same fate.

Clearly, Kent Hughes isn’t ruling out the idea of trading a veteran forward if the opportunity arises. We need to open up attacking positions in the NHL, one way or another.

On defense, the journalist doesn’t see Johnathan Kovacevic in the regular top-6: he sees Mike Matheson, David Savard, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Justin Barron forming the regular brigade (and since Kovacevic is eligible for the ballot, he would probably be the seventh defenseman in this scenario).

And unsurprisingly, Jake Allen and Samuel Montembeault would form the goaltending tandem.

This is just a projection, but it really illustrates the congestion created by the large number of veterans in town, despite the departures of Jonathan Drouin, Alex Belzile and Denis Gurianov.

Now it’s up to Martin St-Louis, Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton to get everyone in the right chair.

Breaking news

– Denis Malgin signs five-year contract in Switzerland.

– Remember thathe entered the player assistance program earlier today.

– News from Keith Kinkaid.

– Nice catch for the Montreal Alliance.

– And that’s even if they’re already hosting the 2024 Games.

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