OPINION: Think twice before trading Galchenyuk

Alex Galchenyuk (Photo by Jay Kopinski/Icon Sportswire)

Alex Galchenyuk (Photo by Jay Kopinski/Icon Sportswire)

After blue chipper Mikhail Sergachev was shipped off to Tampa for left winger Jonathan Drouin, much has been talked about regarding the future of Canadiens’ forward Alex Galchenyuk. The rumblings heard around the league are that Marc Bergevin is looking to move a forward piece for a puck moving defencemen to play with Shea Weber. That is understandable, but Bergevin will have to be careful from here on out when it comes to trades, especially since it is looking like Galchenyuk is going to be the one on the move.

As of right now, Montreal’s left winger’s are Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk (although he is better suited at centre), Artturi Lehkonen and Paul Byron. That is undeniably the best left wing depth on any team in the NHL right now.

As of today, Montreal has $17-million to re-sign Galchenyuk, Andrei Markov and Alexander Radulov. That might not be enough money to bring back all three of these players; someone is definitely on the way out and for some reason, there seems to be this urgency to trade Galchenyuk, of all players.

Why would it be a mistake?

Whether the pundits like to admit it or not, Alex Galchenyuk was drafted to be a centre. His 6’1, 210 lb frame and his elite offensive upside are intangibles that would appeal to any team.

Unfortunately for Chucky, he was drafted the same year that Marc Bergevin hired his good buddy Michel Therrien, who was known to have difficulties with young players. Therrien yo-yoed the rookie back and forth from wing to centre until he was fired.

By the time Claude Julien came in, there was so much uncertainty surrounding this player and his spot in the lineup. Statistically, it is clear that Alex Galchenyuk is nearly 50% more effective offensively when hes playing in the middle.

When Therrien placed Galchenyuk at centre for the remainder of the 2015-2016 season, he tallied 14 goals in the remaining 16 games. Up until he injured his knee in Los Angeles, Galchenyuk was 14th in league scoring (5th among all NHL centres), 11th in points per game, and 10th in even strength.

He accomplished all of this despite being nearly four minutes below time on ice than anyone in the top 20 for scoring. If you compare Galchenyuk and Drouin side by side, assuming they both played wing for their entire careers, their numbers are about the same.

It’s clear that Alex Galchenyuk has been receiving less ice time than he’s actually deserved. He finished the season with an average ice time of 15:56 while Drouin finished with an average of 17:45. Galchenyuk still finished the season with a higher shot generation rate than Drouin despite playing the latter half of the season and playoffs with Andreas Martinsen and Steve Ott, two players who could barely surpass a Corsi of 35%.

Moreover, if Marc Bergevin and the Canadiens were to move Galchenyuk for a puck moving defencemen, it would put them in the same position that they were in before they acquired Drouin, a team with a new left winger and a new puck moving defencemen. The problem this time around is that Sergachev was their only asset to fetch a highly touted top-six forward. With him gone, the Canadiens find themselves in a more difficult position to find a centre.

In short, it’s looking as if Bergevin is going to trade away his best centre who is also their only centre, meaning he’ll have to obtain both a first line centre and a second line centre; and we know much Bergevin has stressed that trades are hard to make.

Why not keep both?

The problem I have with all of this chatter is the urgency to trade Galchenyuk of all players. He’s 23 years old, he has scored 30 goals despite being moved around constantly, and he’s a versatile player who can play both centre and wing.

He finished the season with 17 goals, 27 assists for 44 points in 61 games played. It’s also worth noting that six of those goals were game winners. Galchenyuk is a big game player.


There are other options. Why not captain Max Pacioretty? He’s been a prolific scorer in the league for years now and his contract is among best in the league. What happens when that contract is up in two years time? It would be unwise to pay him over $6 million or more for a 31 year old player who will be on the decline. He has proven to be a regular season performer and a playoff dud. So moving him is something that makes sense especially when his value is high.

Pacioretty can garner quite the return. Drouin will be entering his prime shortly and Arturri Lehkonen is poised to have his breakout season. He’s likely going to pot 30 goals next season, and he’s also proven to be a playoff gamer, something Max Pacioretty has yet to prove.

With Pacioretty traded, that leaves Drouin and Lehkonen as the team’s left wingers and it keeps Galchenyuk on the team as first line centre. All that is left is for the Canadiens to acquire a second line centre, something that could be easier for Bergevin to do.

The logical move would be keeping Galchenyuk where he is. Give him a full season at centre under Claude Julien who is a more patient coach than his predecessor. Imagine the magic that Drouin, Brendan Gallagher and Galchenyuk could produce together on a line. He’s proven to be an effective, lethal offensive threat despite below average ice time.

What do you think Bergevin should do? Would you trade Alex Galchenyuk? If so, who would you trade him for? Let me know in the comment section down below.

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4 Responses to OPINION: Think twice before trading Galchenyuk

  1. You don’t throw away forwards that can potentially get you 20-30 goals a year and are under 25.

    Wayne McCrae June 17, 2017 at 2:12 pm Reply
  2. I agree. Chucky and Drouin and one of Lehkonen or Gallagher could be a lethal line. But…..Bergevin does stid things sometimes. Teading Chucky would be up tgere with stupid.

    Bart Van Eyk June 17, 2017 at 2:40 pm Reply
  3. I agree that Patches should go, he is a terrible team leader and disappears when needed most in the playoffs. plus he will not be worth 6 mil when his contract comes up for renewal. Plus he is mistake prone and allows others to take the blame for his mistakes.you do not know if he will show up to play. Chucky is still young and was ruined by Therrien wanting to play his boy DD at center and shoving Chucky on the wing, but then again MB did nothing to stop him from doing it either…

    bay bye June 17, 2017 at 2:50 pm Reply
  4. Good article. Finally something that makes sense. DON’T TRADE CHUCKY and let him play center warts and all. He was screwed by MT. When will MB admit that and stop blaming the player.

    habbernack June 18, 2017 at 11:06 am Reply

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