In the past week, we’ve seen two high profile rookies get sent from their NHL club to their respective junior club. The Buffalo Sabres sent Mikhail Grigorenko back to the QMJHL, while the New Jersey Devils sent Stefan Matteau back as well. Could the Montreal Canadiens follow suit with Alex Galchenyuk?
Galchenyuk got off to a very solid start to the season. Together with Brendan Gallagher, he was a major reason for the success of the Habs, who are looking like very serious contenders in the Eastern Conference. That hasn’t actually been the case lately, though.
Since the month of March began, Galchenyuk has just two points in nine games. He has 13 on the year. He’s going through a pretty heavy offensive slump right now, but the Habs reportedly have no intention of sending the 19-year-old back to the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.
The fact that Galchenyuk hasn’t put points on the board doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s not playing well. In the case of Grigorenko, the Sabres were barely letting him on the ice. Galchenyuk is still averaging close to 13 minutes of ice time per game. So they obviously don’t think his offensive struggles are hurting his all-around game too badly.
His defensive game has actually been better with the Canadiens than many would have expected. Playing in a more defensive role with Lars Eller and Gabriel Dumont, Galchenyuk has performed very well. He’s the type of guy who the coaching staff will likely utilize heavily on both the penalty kill and power play in the near future.
Alex Galchenyuk is going to be a star with the Montreal Canadiens. He’s already proven to be a very capable player. The numbers will come along with time. But while Galchenyuk is struggling on the stat sheet right now, don’t expect the Habs to send him back to juniors any time soon.