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Rafaël-Harvey-Pinard: He has set standards that will be difficult to reach again

If Rafaël Harvey-Pinard achieved anything last season, it was scoring goals. That, and forcing the respect of people in the field hockey world who didn’t really believe in him, but that bit is another story I won’t go into in depth here.

Let’s get back to the Jonquière native’s incredible ability to shine a light behind opposing goaltenders. In 34 games in the Bettman Circuit last season, he scored no less than 14 goals. Over a full season, that’s 34 goals if I round up and get my rule of three right. But don’t worry, it is.

RHP, as he’s nicknamed, has never really been seen as an ace scorer.

Sure, in junior he managed to score a few goals, but not necessarily at the same level as the top scorers in that type of league. In the 2018-2019 season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Justin Brazeau scored 61 goals in the OHL, while his junior best was 40. Even if we look only at the QMJHL, he was tenth top scorer, eight goals behind the leader, a certain Samuel Asselin, whom I salute in passing if he happens to be reading this.

The man I’d like to be nicknamed La sauce doesn’t seem to have the compact in his eye, and even if he knows how to score goals, it’s not automatically his greatest strength. So why, all of a sudden, was he rolling along at a pace of 34 goals in an NHL season last season?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that numbers never lie. The Sauce (yes, I’m promoting my beloved nickname!) converted 24.1% of his shots into goals, and that’s a figure that’s off the charts even for the NHL’s greatest goal scorers.

Last season, of all those who played more than thirty games, he came second, just behind Andrei Kuzmenko and his 27.3%. That means he was ahead of Leon Draisaitl (21.1%), Connor McDavid (18.2%) and Alexander Ovechkin (14.3%).

To give you an idea, in his career, Mike Bossy, one of the most prolific scorers in history, is at 21.2%. Wayne Gretzkky, the record holder for most goals, is at 17.6% and Alex Ovechkin, who is trying to take the title from him, is at 12.9%. That gives you an idea of what an anomaly it is to have an NHL career shot conversion rate of over 20%.

In other words, the pace is theoretically very unlikely for Harvey-Pinard.

It could be, because it’s not impossible since he’s done it before, but it’s clearly unlikely!

That said, it’s probably something that Kent Hughes took into account when it came time to offer him a new contract. With his new salary of $1.1 million, he’s definitely not being paid like a 30-goal guy in the NHL.

I hope this doesn’t come back to bite him in the ass. I’d like to think that Canadiens fans won’t hold it against him if he fails to repeat such a feat.

I also hope that we’ll all be able to put his mind-boggling performances into perspective. After all, there’s a very good chance that the former Davis Pizzeria man of all missions won’t be paired with Nick Suzuki as often as he was last season.

If being on thepower play with Alex Kovalev and Andrei Markov made a difference for Seldon Souray, I can’t believe that being on the same line as Suzuki didn’t for RHP.

In closing, I sincerely hope that the man I had the chance to interview last May will be given every opportunity to make his mark, and that he’ll be able to prove me wrong.

I sincerely hope so!

In bursts

– Those who actually check the information before publishing didn’t fall for it.

– One day, I hope Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach find themselves in this kind of poll.

– On the other hand, you don’t get many opportunities to win during the summer at home, during rookie camp.

– When the Habs have a better cohort of goalies than you, it doesn’t go well!

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