It was a mixed bag for young Alex Galchenyuk during the 2014-2015 season, as career highs were achieved nearly across the board in terms of stats, but there was a feeling that there could have been more. Having returned from an injury-riddled 2013-2014 year, Galchenyuk showed flashes of brilliance throughout the campaign, but found it tough sledding at other points of the season.
The 2013-2014 season was one the young American would likely prefer to forget, and it seemed he did just that. Career highs were achieved in goals (20), assists (26), points (46), games played (80), and shots (163). Part of that is because it was his first full season in the NHL, with the two previous campaigns being disrupted by the lockout and injury.
At one point during the season, Galchenyuk slotted into the centre position and had an excellent run of games, leading to rampant speculation that the centre fans had been waiting years for was here. It turned out he hadn’t arrived yet, as he was switched back to the wing after a few tough outings, and an end of season report by Marc Bergevin gave the very real possibility he may never be the centre that was expected. His playoff production dried up after scoring the game winning goal in the second game against Ottawa, which lead to a sour taste entering the offseason.
Season Stats: GP 80, G 20, A 26, PTS 46, +/- +8, PIM 39, PPG 3, SHG 0, GWG 1, SOG 163, ATOI 16:25
3 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
The role (and goal) for this season would have to be without doubt for Galchenyuk to become a consistent goal scoring/play making threat. Sustained offence throughout the season, barring any injuries, must be a target for this fourth year player. Last season was a contract year, albeit as a pending restricted free agent, and there were glimpses of greatness, but also severe drop offs in play. He has two years to show the Canadiens, and the NHL, that he has the mettle to mentioned in a different class of player. His defensive game has developed admirably, but his offensive traits need to be showcased. That’s why they drafted him.
Given Montreal’s lack of scoring output over the years, getting into the mid-fifty point range is a feasible target. Unless he completely blows it, he’ll be seeing top-six minutes on offence, and with the addition of Alexander Semin, who will command attention from defences and the balanced scoring of Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty’s sniping ability, the room to play should be there.
Ultimately, for Galchenyuk, it looks like he needs to shoot more. He and Gallagher had very similar numbers last season, but Galchenyuk shot the puck nearly 100 times less. But, his shooting percentage was nearly 3% better than Gallagher’s. Whether it’s a confidence issue, or whatever, simple math dictates if he shoots at Gallagher’s, or Pacioretty’s 300+ shot rate, he’ll find the back of the net more regularly.