Monday, January 7, 2013

Montreal Canadiens: Should Alex Galchenyuk play in the NHL this season?

Now that the NHL and the NHLPA finally managed to conclude a deal and agree to a new collective bargaining agreement yesterday morning, NHL training camps are slated to open between Wednesday and Saturday all around the league after the Board of Governors meets on Tuesday to officially ratify the new agreement.

Will Galchenyuk crack the Habs’ line-up? (Terry Wilson/OHLImages)
The exact specifics of the season are still unknown, but Habs fans should expect a 48-game season that will begin on January 19th, 2013 at Air Canada Centre against their division arch-rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. New general managerMarc Bergevin will be hard pressed to put a competitive roster on the ice after the Canadiens finished last in the Eastern Conference last season.
Bergevin will have to start negotiating withrestricted free agent PK Subban in order to sign the über-talented and charismatic defender to a long-term contract in time for the beginning of the shortened season. Another important decision that Bergevin and his new head coach Michel Therrien will have to make is whether or not to keep the Habs’ third-overall selection of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal or send him back to his junior team, the Sarnia Sting.
Golden Gally
Overall, 2012 has been a successful year for the 18 year-old American. Galchenyuk played a key role in the United States’ gold medal victory over Sweden at the 2013 IIHF U-20 Championship, recording 2 goals and 6 assists for 8 points in 7 contests, to go along with a +2 plus/minus differential during the tournament.
Prior to his participation to the World Juniors, Galchenyuk had recorded 61 points in 33 games (27 goals, 34 assists) while posting a solid +16 plus/minus differential with the Sarnia Sting. Now back with the Sting, the native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, could finish the season with more than 100 points should he remain in the OHL.
Impressed by his performance at the World Junior Championship and in the OHL, many Canadiens fans are asking for the organization to keep Galchenyuk in Montreal for the whole shortened season. While that sounds interesting and tempting to bring the youngster up to play with the big boys like Nail Yakupov with the Edmonton Oilers or Jonathan Huberdeau with the Florida Panthers, the Canadiens would be wise to leave Gally in the OHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign.

Alex Galchenyuk is tearing it in the OHL (Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE)
Still, look for the Canadiens to invite him to their one-week training camp to see what the young man can do against professional hockey players. The team currently has 13 forwards on a one-way contract, not including Louis Leblanc who played 42 games in the NHL last year and who is currently playing in the AHL for the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Keeping Galchenyuk creates two problems for Michel Therrien and Marc Bergevin. First, the lack of playing time on the first two forward lines will be hard to come by. With the first-line of Erik ColeDavid Desharnais and Max Pacioretty set in stone to begin the season, and a probable second line of Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque, Galchenyuk, who can play center or right wing, would find himself playing with Lars Eller and Travis Moen on the team’s checking line. Not exactly the best way to develop a top draft pick!
The other hurdle is his entry-level contract. Should he make the NHL after the brief training camp, Gally would earn a prorated $3,225,000 over the remainder the season and burn one year of his entry-level contract. With PK Subban still unsigned (and most likely commanding a salary around $5 million per year) and the organization already tight against the salary cap at $63,897,976 (of $70,200,000), it is safe to assume that the organization would be best suited if they return Galchenyuk to Sarnia to polish his skills and continue to dominate among his group age.
Finally, with the Canadiens most likely battling for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and not being serious Stanley Cup contenders, Galchenyuk would greatly benefit from a full junior season after missing most of last campaign due to a major knee surgery, and graduate with the Canadiens next September instead.
A long-time Joe Sakic fan, Fred, 34, is a freelance sports writer and translator. Fred earned a Bachelor of Translation in 2002 at Laval University in Quebec City. He also writes on the Montreal Canadiens for and he is an associate editor and a baseball columnist on He is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.


With a healthy roster, Price and only 1/2 season to play, i would be hard pressed to say the Habs cant make a run? A healthy Gionta-Markov-Moan-White-Gorges-Eller and a more mature Subban-Yemelin-Diaz-Desharnais could do wonders in the win column Fred.

As i have said before, Dudley and company already have AG's spring playing plan in place.

They can battle for the playoffs, but they don't have the team to contend for the Cup.

Let me guess Fred, you pegged the Devils as a contender last year? Or the Kings at the end of regular season?

So i wouldnt say "dont" have the team, unlikely for sure, but with all the parity who the hell knows?

When it comes to sports, any team can win. You know unless you are Notre-Dame.

Seriously though who would have predicted the Giants in baseball or Giants in Football last year?

Make the playoffs and anyone can win with timely goal scoring and a hot goalie.

With that said I do think Galchenyuk can make the team and stick but he'd be playing 2nd line LW with Pleks and Gionta.

Problem is that we have Cole, Gio and Bourque on the right and then Pacioretty then Moen for the left.

I think MB is still going to pull the trigger on a LWer but right now I would pencil Galchenyuk on that left side

Boy it's nice to talk Hockey again.

Why not be patient with Galchenyuk?
He looked good at the WJC but not dominant.
Bring him to camp to get a taste of what it will take to make the NHL but send him back to Sarnia to continue his domination.
He would not make that much of an impact this year and we do need to see what we have with Bourque.
He may need a year in the AHL like Subban and Pacioretty did. Let's not mistake him for Crosby.....

I completely agree with HH...why rush him? I'd like to see him play out the year in Sarnia and I'd also like to see him get a taste of the AHL before makes the big leap...

With someone who should end up being as elite as him, there's no reason to rush!

he wont play all year as he would burn yr 1 of his EL contract in a shortened season, AND the 3million cap hit cuts into the 6million Bergevin has. also therefore cutting Subbans resigning amount. so expect him to get 5 or 6 games only. which is all he should get in a 48game season.

Sorry HH, but Galchenyuk will see zero AHL time (unless somehow the Dogs rip up the 2nd half).
At the 2PPG pace for last while in OHL, what does he have left to prove there?
I say put him on Eller's wing to start out on 3rd line, at least for 9 game trial.
Hope Gallagher also gets a shot also, but Leblanc likely still ahead of him?

I think the team is already set. We will probably carry 8 d-men including Diaz and Weber and 13 forwards. Everyone is already signed to one way contracts except Subban who should be by Sunday. It's possible we could make a trade but I would think most teams will want to see what they have before making any moves.
Leblanc will start the year in Hamilton as he's still on a 2 way contract.

Impressed by his performance at the World Junior Championship and in the OHL, many Canadiens fans are asking for the organization to keep Galchenyuk in Montreal for the whole shortened season.


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