Unleash Galchenyuk – How #27 can save the season

Alex Galchenyuk, now 23 years old and in his sixth NHL season, has had his ups and downs during his career with the Montreal Canadiens. Galchenyuk, a promising young talent that was taken 3rd overall in the 2012 draft has consistently found himself in the coach’s doghouse throughout his career. Despite scoring 30 goals two seasons ago when he was just 21 years old, Alex has been no stranger to the third and fourth lines. He hit a new low last Thursday night when he only played 9 minutes in an OT loss to the Flames due to him being perceived as a lazy, inconsistent and a bad defensive player by Habs management. While the Canadiens biggest problem of scoring goals continues (6th worst in the league), they have their solution right under their nose if they’ll only take a whiff.

If I were to ask you which Habs forward has averaged the most points per 60 minutes of ice-time over the last three seasons, who would you guess? Would it be the year over year 30 goal scorer in Pacioretty? Would it be the electric Alexander Radulov? What about the hard-working sniper in Gallagher? Actually, as you might now guess, the answer would be Alex Galchenyuk. He has averaged a team-leading 2.53 points/60min in 174 regular season games over that span. In terms of goals/60, he only trails Pacioretty. Despite Galchenyuk being the best point producer over the past three seasons, he currently ranks 9th amongst forwards in TOI/GP this season.

It’s no surprise that the Habs are struggling to score when guys like Shaw (8th in pts/60 this season) and Plekanec (11th) are playing top 6 minutes over a natural scorer and creator in Galchenyuk. It’s true that the Habs need more talent and personnel on offence, but I don’t know many teams that would be an offensive powerhouse when their best point-getter is getting less minutes than those who are less talented.

Despite Galchenyuk being the top producer over the past three seasons, he has had a down-tick so far this season with only 2.18pts/60. This down-tick of his is still good for 3rd amongst forwards, only trailing Gallagher and Drouin. The reason for this regression can be explained by poor luck as both his personal shooting percentage and the team’s shooting percentage while he’s on the ice are both at career lows. When Galchenyuk is on the ice, the Habs are shooting a measly 5.1% which is the worst among forwards and quite below the Habs average shooting of 7.9% (not to mention this is already very low – the league average is 9.4%!). Even in terms of Galchenyuk’s personal shooting, his shooting is at a career low 8.8%. This is a huge drop off from his career shooting which is well over 13%. This has been a weird and unlucky year for Galchenyuk and I expect these numbers to gear back towards his five year career averages.

You might be asking yourself, so what if he puts up points, can he play defence? I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Galchenyuk is a good defender, or that he is even average. I’ll be the first to admit that he can take some shifts off and that he could be careless with the puck. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call him a defensive liability. However, given the current circumstances of the team, this shouldn’t be the deciding factor that forces him to ride the pine all season. Bergevin moved on from the “riskier” puck-moving defenceman (ie: Beaulieu, Markov, Subban) and acquired more stay-at-home, sturdy,  and tough d-men such as Weber, Benn and Alzner. This is on top of the fact that he signed the best goalie in the world to an 8-year extension. It’s clear that Bergevin wanted to build a back-end that’s hard to score on. However, the opportunity cost of these decisions was to give up considerable offensive power.

It might have been passable to ice forwards like Plekanec, Shaw and Danault major minutes when we had the d-men contributing to scoring. However, it’s quite obvious that this change of personnel on defense has foiled this already poor strategy. In a time when the Habs struggle so mightily to score goals, is Galchenyuk’s defence really THAT bad that it’s worth not having our best offensive weapon playing major minutes? Even when the rest of the team was built to defend?? To me, Galchenyuk’s poor defence is a no-brainer trade off given his offensive potential and the needs that this team has. If we gave Price that monster contract and signed all these stay-at-home defencemen and still couldn’t ice our best weapon offensively, then what’s the point of even acquiring these types of players?

I hope that Bergevin, Julien and the rest of the Habs management quickly realize what they have in Galchenyuk. Because if they don’t, I won’t feel bad for them when I’m watching Galchenyuk put up 70+ points a season in a different jersey.


Give me a follow on Twitter ( @NoahC_Habs ) and lets continue the discussion there!

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4 Responses to Unleash Galchenyuk – How #27 can save the season

  1. I can’t say that I believe in this team, or the system of how they manage their players anymore. I’ve come to expect and believe mediocrity is the only thing this team accepts. Galchenyuk will go on, to they’ve somewhere else, if they don’t destroy him first. The foundation is weak, crumbling underneath them, and it is a history of ignorance and arrogance that has allowed us to get to this point. It starts at the top, where the man who claims to be the custodian of this team, seems to be failing, massively. Our dreams as fans will be fulfilled once this team starts operating outside of their box and stops believing that they are beyond the game, because the way they operate, the way they tough talk their players, is not how the game is managed now. This team has bullied their own players, openly, to have fans admire then for it. To manage, accept, and embrace the personalities of the game will allow far more success in the future, instead of scrutinizing and demeaning what should be considered your assets. All we can do is hope this team figured it out, there are a lot of great models out there, too bad they haven’t figured out to be leaders, instead of followers.

    Cary December 12, 2017 at 9:48 pm Reply
    • Sorry, my phone has a mind of it’s own sometimes. I was saying Galchenyuk will go on to succeed somewhere else….

      Cary December 13, 2017 at 1:11 am Reply
  2. greetings,salut bonjour
    are we destroying alex?like we have done to others in our recent past…
    i sure hope not.claude julien is a very good coach.i would put my faith in him.twice to the cup finals with boston(a blue collar team-no real superstars).1 victory,on the road in game 7.the other time it was close too for boston to come out victorious…he is not the issue with our team,i believe.
    the issue with our team is marc bergevin.he is not the person for the job.he is an assistant at best.just learning and deputizing as a g.m.he should not be in charge.too many mistakes,poor decisions,lack of patience and tolerance with our players,i believe anyway…he has sent away too many players/draft picks,prospects,etc;that were chosen to lead us to the stanley cup one day soon…maybe i am wrong?my gut tells me otherwise.i do not feel comfortable with him as our g.m.,point a la ligne.
    thats all for now,
    take good care,
    merry christmas/happy holidays
    joyeux noel/joyeuses fetes a tous le monde
    from your friendly nieghbourhood habs fan-eternelle
    le petitbill4,

    fononda December 13, 2017 at 8:08 am Reply
  3. The habs haven’t got a clue how to develop players. Chucky should have stayed in jr to develop. He was injure most of his jr career, which was very short. They should have left him there to develop as a center. He’s been screwed around by MT and now by Julien. Julien is cutting off his nose to spite his face by saying Chucky will never play center. and that goes for MB too. I hope Chucky gets traded, not because I dislike him but he deserves better than what his receiving from the habs

    habbernack December 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm Reply

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