Dom Lunardo | March 30th, 2020
Belarusian-American, now that’s quite the unusual combination for an NHL player now, isn’t it? Minnesota Wild centerman, Alex Galchenyuk was American-born (Milwaukee, Wisconsin to be exact), but of Belarusian descent when he was drafted third overall by the Montreal Canadiens during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Up to this point in his career, few would attest to the fact that Galchenyuk’s high-level skill set, speed, and ability to make plays are all part of his arsenal. The single largest issue facing the talented forward, however, remains his inconsistent play, which undoubtedly seems to follow Galchenyuk everywhere he goes at the NHL level.
On July 1, Alex Galchenuk is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and will be in need of a new contract. Whether or not that contract comes from first-year Wild General Manager, Bill Guerin or not remains to be seen. Let’s delve into the 26-year-old’s playing career thus far and further examine what he may garner on the open market.
Montreal and the “Man on the Move”
When Canadiens General Manager, Marc Bergevin called Galchenyuk’s name from the base of the draft floor, with the third overall pick, Habs fans were licking their collective chops at the mere thought of having him in their lineup. One year removed from essentially “bottoming out” in the standings, the Habs had their sights set on a bright future with Carey Price in goal and Galchenyuk upfront. It was without question, an exciting time to be a fan of the Habs in Montreal, Quebec. After a 30-goal, 56-point season during the 2015-2016 campaign, it seemed as though Galchenyuk was on track for a long and successful career in the blue, white, and red “Tricolore” of the Canadiens. However, in the seasons that followed, Galchenyuk’s point totals decreased along with his (+/-) and was never able to replicate his 30-goal triumph. His lack of production had Habs fans scratching their heads and eventually led to an offseason trade to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Max Domi.
After one season in the desert, Galchenyuk was once again packing his bags for the “Steel City”, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to join Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the 4-time Stanley Cup Champion, Pittsburgh Penguins. It looked like an interesting move on paper, but sadly for Galchenyuk, it wasn’t meant to be. As a general rule, skating in 45 games with 5 total goals usually doesn’t spell success for many top-9 forwards in the National Hockey League, and this was the case for Galchenyuk in the black and gold of Pittsburgh. Before you knew it, Galchenyuk was traded once again, and off to St.Paul, Minnesota as a member of the Minnesota Wild. The inconsistent play leaving much to be desired at the very heart of Galchenyuk’s current repertoire.
Drop-Dead Date: July 1
NHL Free Agent Frenzy. A time for hope, excitement, and a change of scenery for so many players from around the NHL. When you look at some of the available names during this summer’s class of NHL Free Agent Class of 2020 (i.e. Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall, Tyson Barrie, Mike Hoffman, etc) many hockey experts would classify Alex Galchenyuk into the second-tier, and rightfully so when you look at what he’s accomplished during his NHL tenure up to this point. It’s certainly hard to place him in the upper-echelon of players given his statistical production over the past 3-4 seasons. In addition to this, playing on 4 different NHL teams will surely raise a few collective eyebrows amongst various management groups across the NHL.
A second to third-line center on the vast majority of NHL teams will be something of importance and command a decently high ask on the open market, to say the least. Currently playing on a 3-year/$14.7M contract that carries an average annual value (AAV) of 4.9M, look for Galchenyuk’s new deal come July 1st to be in and around the ballpark of $5-5.3M on a 2-3 year term. Teams will be skeptical to offer Galchenyuk a long-term deal, and may very well ask him to “prove it” on a shorter-term deal that carries a much lower risk. The collective hockey world will have to wait and see where Galchenyuk ends up after the annual Free Agent Frenzy takes center stage across the NHL landscape.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images