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More about Alex Galchenyuk
Fans of the Montreal Canadiens aren’t used to seeing their beloved team lose. Over the last century the Habs have been the NHL’s most storied franchise, winning 24 Stanley Cups over that span. Even in years when they didn’t win they were still contenders, and clubs dreaded coming into the Montreal Forum to face the storied club on their home soil.
That fear has all but disappeared over the past several seasons as the Habs descended first into mediocrity, and then even further, hitting rock bottom when they finished dead last in the Eastern Conference in the 2011-12 season.
However, the NHL, like other professional North American sports leagues, rewards failure, after a fashion. In an effort to try and bring parity to the game, the teams who finish with the worst records are granted the highest draft picks, giving them the opportunity to land the most elite prospects from the junior ranks and overseas.
The failure of 2011-12 was a boon in disguise as it allowed the Canadiens to nab super-skilled Sarnia Sting forward Alex Galchenyuk. The move was a bit of a gamble on the part of the Habs as Galchenyuk missed all but two games in his draft year with a knee injury. However, the year previous he’d wowed scouts with his skill, potting 83 points in 68 games for the Sting in his rookie season.
That gamble paid off. While the NHL lockout dragged on, Galchenyuk tore apart the OHL, averaging nearly two points per game. During the time he also participated in the World Junior Hockey Championships and was a key piece of the American squad that captured the gold medal in January.
When the lockout ended prevailing wisdom said that Galchenyuk would remain with his junior team, giving him an opportunity to continue to improve before the 2013-14 season. The budding star had other ideas. Though his NHL training camp was short he performed so well that team management had no choice but to keep him with the big club. Nine games passed, the limit that a junior eligible player can stay with the big club without burning a year of his entry level contract and again Galchenyuk passed the test, sticking for the long haul based on his fantastic start with the Habs.
Like all rookies he’s had his ups and downs, but there have been more than a few flashes of brilliance in his first 20 NHL games, tantalizing hints of just how much potential this young man has. Look for Galchenyuk, along with fellow rookie Brendan Gallagher and other young stars like Max Pacioretty, PK Subban and Carey Price to help return the Habs to their former glory in the not-too-distant future.