23-Year-Old Center – Montreal Canadiens
Alex Galchenyuk Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $5.6 million contract with the Canadiens in July 2015.
Galchenyuk started Saturday's game against Winnipeg centering the first line, but was later dropped to the third line in Montreal's 3-1 loss.
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Alex Galchenyuk: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
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.