It hasn’t always been rose for Alex Galchenyuk since his final year of junior hockey which saw him miss most of the season due to a knee injury. Many feel like had it not been for this set back, he might have gone to the Edmonton Oilers, who picked his teammate Nail Yakupov first overall at the 2012 NHL Draft. Instead, the Canadiens decided to take a gamble on him at number three in that draft, a decision that seems to be paying off big time for Marc Bergevin‘s team.
Instead of sending him back to junior, the Habs chose to keep him with the big club at the tender age of 19, preferring to control his utilisation and slowly teaching him the ropes of the NHL, while having him closer to their own medical team in the even of set-backs. For his development, head coach Michel Therrien decided to play him on left wing instead of putting some added pressure by playing him at the much tougher centre position in the NHL, against some of the best.
While Galchenyuk has shown some flashes of brilliance though his first three years, he has been struggling with consistency and words of off-ice issues started popping up here and there. This should come as no surprise as Montreal being the fan crazy city that it is, you fill a kid’s pockets with money and they are the most popular people in town, puck bunnies and all being all over those kids… just ask Carey Price!
It got to the point where we even touched on the topic on this very blog, at a time when Galchenyuk’s much publicised relationship with Chanel Leszczynski hit an all-time low after she was arrested in a domestic-violence case after a night of partying alongside teammate Devante Smith-Pelly (and some people wonder why he was traded). The next day, he met with Bergevin after practice and they made things crystal clear.
To Galchenyuk’s credit, that was the turning point of his season. Not that he was having a bad season by any mean, but he started getting on fire soon after that meeting. Prior to that wake-up call, Galchenyuk had managed 10 goals and 27 points in 43 games played but he exploded with twice the goals’ production (20) and added another 29 points in his next 39 games. Unlike what some want to make you believe, his hot streak started well before being moved to centre after David Desharnais got injured. Galchenyuk had racked up four goals and seven points in the seven games prior to Desharnais’ injury.
As well know, the top scorer of all players drafted in 2012 finished the season with 30 goals and 56 points in his third year in the NHL.
Hungry for more
Looking at some of the photos and videos that he posted on his Instagram account, it sure looks like Galchenyuk understands the importance of maturing and growing up if he wants to take the next step in his career. He is training hard, very hard this summer and seems focused and determined to have a great season, a contract year for him.
Some say that seeing P.K. Subban being traded served as a warning to Galchenyuk. I prefer to think that his wake-up call happened in mid-January when he met with Bergevin and finally dumped his bimbo girlfriend to focus on hockey. Time will tell if that’s the case, but I’m feeling pretty good about Galchenyuk and his future with the Montreal Canadiens.