Rabid Habs

What To Expect From Alex Galchenyuk

Habs' Alex Galchenyuk Photo - AFP/Richard Wolowicz

Last Thursday evening, the Habs officially came to terms with forward Alex Galchenyuk on a two-year $5.6 million dollar deal.

Now that the deal that many Habs fans have been waiting for has been signed, it’s time to discuss what to expect from Galchenyuk this upcoming season. Let’s start by looking at the development throughout his career thus far.

In his first season, he put up a good rookie year posting 9 goals and 27 points in 48 games. That was good for 0.5625 points per game. You have to also factor in that since it was a shortened season, which means had it been a full 82 game season, his PPG total could have fallen a lot. However, it’s more than likely he would have never played that season if it wasn’t for the lockout because he needed time in the OHL to recuperate from a lost year due to a knee injury in his draft year. The lockout was a blessing for Galchenyuk as it allowed him to be ready for NHL action in January.

Galchenyuk took a step back offensively in his sophomore season, which isn’t all that big of deal considering he still needed to get his feet wet in the NHL. After posting 13 goals and 31 points in 65 games, Galchenyuk, who missed the rest of the season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, came back strong notching a goal and 2 assists in 5 games in which he was easily the Habs’ best forward in their third round loss to the New York Rangers.

Coming into last season, expectations from fans were high for Galchenyuk. The biggest problem with Galchenyuk is, although he’s extremely skille,he needs to work on his consistency. Last season his inconsistency became especially evident when he was second in scoring at the halfway mark of the season with 12 goals and 27 points in 41 games.

Only Max Pacioretty had more with 32 points at that point. Then, Michel Therrien decided to put Galchenyuk back on the wing after a 12 game experiment as top centre in which he put up 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 12 games.He and Pacioretty seemed like they were about to form a dynamic duo before Galchenyuk was sent down to play on the second line with David Desharnais as centre.

From that point on things started to go downhill  for the 21-year-old.  He managed only 8 goals and 19 points in his final 39 games, which isn’t that bad, however, he only scored 2 goals and 7 points in the last 19 games of the season. During the playoffs, his struggles continued as he had a goal and 3 assists in 12 games.

It seemed as the season progressed that Galchenyuk lost confidence in himself, which caused him to miss opportunities he would have most likely capitalized on in the past. Putting him back at centre could be a way for Galchenyuk to regain confidence in himself. After he regains this confidence, he should be able to take a step forward to becoming the game changing forward he has the potential to be.

We should expect to see Alex Galchenyuk at centre during the Habs’ training camp. Don’t be surprised if he slowly regains confidence and becomes a much more consistent player towards the end of the year. He still needs to develop his defensive game before being a number one centre and this year could be a year where the coaching staff helps his game out even more, as you can’t win with Desharnais as your top centre.

This could be the ultimate breakout year for Alex Galchenyuk.

Follow Nick on Twitter @habsfan2500.