The team wants to assess his defensive awareness in order to determine if he can finally move back to his natural position after playing the first two seasons of his career as a left winger. The 20-year-old forward has recorded 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points in 113 games (0.51 PPG) in the NHL. The move is logical for Chucky's optimal development as he has been able to learn the ropes during his first two seasons in the league.
The Dallas Stars took the same decision when they acquired talented forward Tyler Seguin from the Boston Bruins. The Bruins, who were very deep at center, used to play Seguin as a right winger instead of his natural position. The outcome was phenomenal as Seguin finished last season with 84 points in 80 games playing alongside Jamie Benn on the team's first line.
While the Canadiens appear to be set down the middle with David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller, Manny Malhotra and Michael Bournival as the team's first five centers, The Habs could simply decide to trade of the above-mentioned pivots or simply move one of them to the wing.
The smaller Desharnais wouldn't have to play against big centermen and this would allow him to focus his game on the offense, where he is the more creative, efficient and able to help the team. The move would also allow head coach Michel Therrien to split DD and Brendan Gallagher and put them on two different lines, thus splitting the team's two smaller forwards.
Potential line combos with Galchenyuk at center:
Extras: Moen, Bournival
Another possibility is that the team will trade of the centers during training camp or early in the season to make room for Chucky, especially with the logjam the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge currently has at forward. The odd man out could very well be Lars Eller, who is signed to an affordable contract, and still has plenty of value on the trade market. Trading Eller would also allow Therrien to play Galchenyuk on the team's third line and isolate him against weaker opposition to facilitate his transition at center.
Ask Ryan Nugent-Hopkins how hard it is for a young player to graduate as the team's first pivot at a very young age. While RNH is producing well offensively, he is struggling mightily on the face-off circle and needs to improve in defensive game to be considered a top center in the NHL. Galchenyuk took only 15 face-offs last season, going 5 for 15, or 33%, which is far from being good, so he will need to improve dramatically this aspect of his game to be able to play as a pivot on a regular basis with Montreal in 2014-15.
Do you agree with the decision to move Galchenyuk back to his natural position?
Should the Canadiens trade Desharnais or Eller, or simply move them to the wing?