As the Habs neared the end of a frustrating, disappointing campaign, a major bright spot emerged in the form of Alex Galchenyuk. The former third overall pick hit his stride during the final quarter of the season and went on a scoring tear, giving the Habs plenty to look forward to.
After beginning the year playing at his natural centre position, Galchenyuk was then shifted to the wing for the majority of the season. When he was eventually returned to centre, it was on the first line with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher as wingers. The result was instant chemistry and all of a sudden the Canadiens found themselves with a dangerous first line and, in turn, a very dangerous number one centre. Galchenyuk broke out in a big way and had tallied 30 goals by the end of his fourth NHL campaign.
Season Stats: 82 GP, 30 goals, 26 assists, 56 points, -8 rating, 20 PIMS, 9 PPG, 0 SHG, 4 GWG, 201 Shots, 16:16 ATOI
4 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
Moving forward Galchenyuk will be depended on as a significant contributor on offence and likely will begin the season as the number one centre for the Habs. Given his chemistry with both Pacioretty and Gallagher keeping the group together would seem to make sense at least to start the season. He should also be in for significant power play time, and the Habs may be well served by playing him with the man advantage as much as possible – he scored nine goals with the man advantage last season, and is one of the most creative offensive talents on the team.
If Galchenyuk’s Instagram feed is anything to go by, he clearly hasn’t been taking the summer off and has embarked on a serious training regimen. His increased strength and conditioning was a great help last season, and it seems that we can expect more of the same. The addition of Shea Weber and Kirk Muller should help the ailing power play, and Alexander Radulov gives him another potentially dangerous offensive weapon to work with. Galchenyuk can be expected to build on last season’s breakout and if he puts it all together a 35 goal, 70 point season is not out of the question.