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Alex Galchenyuk will turn 20 during the Olympic break in February of this upcoming season. Last year, Alex spent the NHL lockout in Sarnia scoring 27 goals and adding 34 assists in just 33 games. The Habs' 1st round pick in 2012 entered the shortened Canadiens training camp in January and impressed the coaching staff enough to earn a spot on the roster. With a strong rookie season under his belt, what will he do for an encore?
In his 47 game rookie campaign, Galchenyuk produced a little over a half of a point per game with nine goals and 18 assists. During most of the year his minutes were low and his shifts insulated. Most of his starts were in the offensive zone and against weaker opposition. By years end he was clearly a top-9 forward and ended the season scoring six goals in his final 12 games. “Chucky,” as he has been dubbed by his teammates, was able to score a goal and add two assists in five playoff games but appeared to be quite intimidated at times by the increase in physicality that comes with the NHL postseason. He averaged more time on ice per game in the playoffs than the regular season.
GP: 47 G: 9 A: 18 P: 27 +14 rating PIM: 20 PPG: 0 GWG: 2 Shots: 79 ATOI:
2013-2014 RoleAlex will have more opportunity this year both at even strength and especially the powerplay. He averaged just a minute of powerplay time per game which was 7th on the team in terms of forwards. Unless a trade occurs or there is a major injury he will more than likely spend the majority of year on the wing due to Montreal's depth down the middle. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to determining whom Galchenyuk will play with. Many believe if David Desharnais doesn’t find his form that he will fall down the depth chart, especially if Lars Eller continues to develop and steal his minutes. Alex had excellent chemistry with Eller last year but I believe he could find that same recipe or better with Tomas Plekanec. One spot you can be sure you will see him in all year is the shootout, I don't think he will be left out of the top-3 in any shootout game the Canadiens get into, something worth noting if you're in a pool where shootout results count.
Projected StatsIt will be interesting to see how Alex will deal with the rigors of an 82-game schedule and all the travel that comes with it. Sure he played 92 hockey games last year but most of those games were a short bus ride or flight away, with the exception of the international games he played as a member of the US national team. I expect there to be some tough times in late December through February but his pro game will improve. Look for Alex to score around 45 points and hopefully surpass the 15 goal mark. More importantly will be how he fares against some better competition and how he responds to the added minutes and pressure.
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