The Montreal Canadiens are off to a great 4-1 start this season, and have been helped along by the play of rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. The Canadiens have liked what they’ve seen from Galchenyuk, the third overall pick in last year’s draft, enough to decide to keep him in the NHL for the full season. The speedy center has a goal and four assists through his first five games, good enough for third on the team in scoring.
Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues may have a lead right now in the race for the Calder Trophy, but Galchenyuk should definitely be considered a candidate for the award if the Canadiens keep up their strong performance. In a shortened season, players that were active during the lockout are at an advantage, and Galchenyuk certainly stayed very busy last fall. In 33 games with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, he scored 27 goals and added 34 assists. He also won a gold medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championship. In seven tournament games, he had two goals and six assists for the Americans. He missed almost all of the 2011-12 season with a knee injury, but looks no worse for the wear this season. He has developed a great chemistry with Gallagher so far, and with both players now staying put in Montreal for the 48 game season, fans in Quebec should be very excited about the future of their team. Gallagher has two goals and two assists in four games, and veteran Erik Cole has been a great linemate for the two youngsters.
The Canadiens will visit their Northeast Division rival Ottawa Senators (a team that performed well last season with a youth movement of its own) tonight and try and move a point up on them in the standings.