Tough choice for the Habs with the Rocket in the playoff hunt
BY MARCO MARCH 30, 2023 (11:29)
The Rocket is in the midst of a playoff run right now. And they need all the help they can get. In Montreal, there are two players that can be sent back with the Rocket to help them in the race and in the playoffs. Jesse Ylonen and Rafael Harvey-Pinard.
Obviously, in the case of Ylonen, it's only a matter of time. As soon as the Habs have enough healthy forwards, he'll be back in Laval and that will really give the Rocket a boost.
But for RHP, it's a little more complicated. Simply because he has proven himself to be an NHL caliber player. Under normal circumstances, Harvey-Pinard would not return to the AHL. But on the other hand, it would be an incredible experience for him to play competitive hockey for the first time in several months.
In the best case scenario, RHP would finish the season in Montreal and once that is done, he would join the Rocket to try to go far in the playoffs. It may not be a popular way to think about it, but it would be a great experience for the youngster, plus he's brimming with confidence lately and loves to play hockey. It would only extend his season.
François Gagnon and Maxim Lapierre have spoken on the matter, and they seem to be of the same opinion:
The problem is that the Rocket may not be in the playoffs if we wait until the end of the Canadiens' season.
So could the CH be tempted to send RHP back to the AHL with a few games left in the season in Montreal? If the decision is made for the good of the organization, it would be defensible. But fans would hate this approach, as you can see from the comments below Mr. Gagnon's post.
One thing is certain, Harvey-Pinard should be explained. He has earned his place in Montreal. He will be in Montreal next year. He will sign a 1 year contract. It doesn't change anything. But the Habs have been out of the playoff race for a long time and the Rocket are in the thick of it. Are we willing to sacrifice a playoff run in Laval to allow RHP to finish the season in Montreal?
There is no real good answer to that question. And no matter which one we choose, there will be people who are unhappy.
Personally, I would keep him in Montreal for the rest of the season and send him to Laval afterwards, knowing that it could cost the Rocket a playoff spot. The kid deserves to finish the season in Montreal.