While it’s not a long-term deal, the Habs have agreed to terms on a three year contract with restricted free agent Alex Galchenyuk. The contract reportedly carries a cap hit of $4.9 million.
The agreement was announced shortly after the 5 PM EST deadline for salary arbitration filings.
Galchenyuk was Montreal’s third overall pick back in 2012 and he has had his ups and downs during that time. While he was drafted as a centre, he has yet to stick at that position for more than a few weeks at a time. He has also had a knack for being a very streaky player but when he’s on, he has shown himself to be a quality front line player.
Last season, the 23 year old had 17 goals and 27 assists in 61 games, the highest points per game mark (0.72) of his career. However, he found himself on the fourth line late in the season and at the start of the playoffs and was unable to get much going offensively in the postseason which didn’t exactly end his year on a high note.
It’s that type of inconsistency that likely led to what amounts to a second bridge deal. From Montreal’s standpoint, it allows them to lock in one of their top scorers for a few more years without really breaking the bank while allowing them to see if Galchenyuk has another level to his game. For Galchenyuk, it still represents a sizable raise on his past deal (his last cap hit was $2.8 million) and will set him up to be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the age of 26. Assuming he continues to progress, he should find himself in line for a big pay day at that time.
Montreal now finds themselves with between $8-9 million in cap space (depending on who fills the bottom roster spots) which gives them enough money to either re-sign Andrei Markov or to acquire a notable contract in a trade. This is a big item off Marc Bergevin’s to-do list but there’s still some work to be done for him this offseason.