24-Year-Old Right Wing – Montreal Canadiens
Alex Galchenyuk Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $14.7 million contract extension with the Canadiens in July of 2017.
Galchenyuk registered two assists during Thursday's 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh.
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Alex Galchenyuk: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Galchenyuk had a breakout year in 2015-16, reaching the 30-goal mark for the first time. And it didnít really get going until March, when head coach Michel Therrien made him the top-line center beside Max Pacioretty and eventually Brendan Gallagher. The 2012 No. 3 overall pick produced 16 goals and 22 points in the seasonís final 22 games. Deployment has always been an impeding factor in the development of the young forward, whose previous experiments at center were quickly aborted by Therrien. The coach has had Galchenyuk on simmer since entering the league, whether by handcuffing him to third-line duty with less skilled forwards, marginalizing him to the wing, or simply limiting his minutes. Even during last yearís breakout, he skated less at even strength than in the previous season. Thankfully, Galchenyuk also averaged the fourth-most power-play time among forwards, and he scored nearly a third of his goals in those situations. There are deficiencies in his game on the defensive end, but the coach needs to get past that. He should be expected to remain the Habsí top center, especially for fantasy purposes.
Galchenyuk suited up for 80 NHL games for the first time last year at age 20, and the results were terrific. Granted more responsibility, he saw a rise in production, hitting 20 goals for the first of what should be many times in his career and tallying 46 points overall. The No. 3 pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Galchenyuk is well on his way to becoming a franchise player for the Habs, and this could be the year that he makes the leap to elite status. It remains to be seen whether he ultimately remains at left wing or returns to center, but either way, Galchenyuk should be in for another spike in fantasy value as he continues to gain the strength and stamina he needs to deal with the rigors of the NHL season and avoid those late-season dry spells he's been prone to falling into.
Galchenyuk suffered a couple of injuries in 2013-14 and was limited to 65 games. We were looking for some growth out of him coming off a promising rookie season, but he continued to make young-player mistakes. Most notably, Galchenyuk tended to have lapses in his own end, and he experienced a steep scoring drop-off after a strong start to the season. There's a ton of offensive talent wrapped up in the 21-year-old, so the Canadiens will be patient as he learns to be a more consistent contributor. There's been talk of a move to his natural center position, but the Habs are deep up the middle. The loss of Brian Gionta opens up a wing spot on the second line and Galchenyuk is an obvious choice to replace him, but coach Michel Therrien is not about to hand him the position unconditionally.
Galchenyuk, 19, scored 27 points in 48 games as a rookie in 2012-13. Having the high-prized prospect on the opening-night roster was a way for the Canadiens to excite the fan base before returning him to the juniors, but Galchenyuk showed enough and produced enough early on to show that he belonged in the NHL. There were many learning moments and some significant scoring droughts, but the experience will make the kid a better player this season. He'll be a top-nine forward to open the season with potential to move up.
The third overall pick in this past June's draft, Galchenyuk played just two games for the OHL's Sarnia Sting last year due to a knee injury, but the talented pivot snagged 31 goals and 83 points two seasons ago in the OHL. He'll turn 19 in February, but did sign a three-year entry level contract with the Habs in July. Odds are, Montreal will give him at least a piece of the requisite 10-game look that players still in juniors are allowed, but he's definitely a player worth remembering when he lands at the NHL level.