3 Potential Landing Spots for Alex Galchenyuk

As we inch closer to the opening of training camp, Alex Galchenyuk is still a free agent, despite coming off a decent 2021-22 season. In 60 games with the Arizona Coyotes last season, he scored six goals and 21 points. Although that isn’t dominant production, he has shown in the past that he can be a solid middle-six forward when he’s on his game, and I think he should be able to land a contract before the start of 2022-23. Here’s a look at three teams that should consider signing the former first-round pick.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs should be interested in a reunion with Galchenyuk. He was a decent depth forward for them during the 2020-21 season, scoring four goals and 12 points in 26 games. Although the sample size was rather small, the 28-year-old did show that he is capable of playing in a high-pressure market like Toronto.

Alex Galchenyuk Arizona Coyotes
Alex Galchenyuk, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It also wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Maple Leafs to add another depth forward before the start of the season. They lost two notable forwards in Jason Spezza and Ondrej Kase this offseason, so it could be wise to add a player like Galchenyuk for insurance, who could be a decent fit in their bottom six. At worst, he would be a serviceable 13th forward.

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If Galchenyuk isn’t willing to sign a two-way deal with the Maple Leafs, general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas would need to get creative to fit him on the roster. The team is about $1.5 million over the salary cap and needs to re-sign restricted free agent (RFA) Rasmus Sandin. As a result, players like Justin Holl ($2 million cap hit) and Alexander Kerfoot ($3.5 million cap hit) are now considered potential trade candidates. If at least one of them is traded to help re-sign Sandin, Dubas would also likely have enough cap space to sign Galchenyuk to a league-minimum deal, which could benefit both parties.

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames lost a chunk of their forward depth this offseason, as Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Calle Jarnkrok, and Ryan Carpenter found new teams for 2022-23. Although acquiring and then extending Jonathan Huberdeau was big, it would be beneficial for them to bring in one more depth forward, and signing Galchenyuk could make sense for them.

Related: 3 Potential Landing Spots for Evan Rodrigues

If Galchenyuk can rediscover his scoring touch, he would be a solid addition to the Flames’ third line. This is especially true if they feel that top prospect Jakob Pelletier isn’t ready to be a full-time NHL player. Thus, adding an experienced forward like Galchenyuk for backup could be a worthwhile move for GM Brad Treliving.

Unlike many Stanley Cup contenders, the Flames still have salary cap space to work with. So, unlike the Maple Leafs, they wouldn’t be forced to make other moves to bring in a player like Galchenyuk. The Milwaukee native is able to play both center and on the wing, which would offer the team multiple options for their lineup.

Montreal Canadiens

How crazy would it be to see Galchenyuk and the Montreal Canadiens reunite? The 28-year-old was drafted by the team with the third-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and was once predicted to be their top center for years to come. Although he never developed into the star that management had hoped for, he had his best seasons in Montreal, most notably scoring 30 goals during the 2015-16 season and finishing two seasons with 50-plus points. Perhaps this could be enough for GM Kent Hughes to give Galchenyuk a call.

Alex Galchenyuk
Alex Galchenyuk during his time with the Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Galchenyuk would have no trouble cementing himself into the Canadiens’ lineup. This is a rebuilding team with exceptionally low expectations heading into 2022-23 – they had the worst record in the league in 2021-22. Even with all of that, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to add him as another NHL-caliber option. It never hurts for a rebuilding team to add a bit of experience to a young group.

The Canadiens have limited cap space, so like the Maple Leafs, they would need to move out salary to sign Galchenyuk to a one-way contract. Yet, because they also need to sign RFA Kirby Dach, we might see that happen before the fall. Potential trade candidates include Christian Dvorak ($4.45 million cap hit) and Mike Hoffman ($4.5 million cap hit), who would free up more than enough money to bring in a player like Galchenyuk.

It will be interesting to see if Galchenyuk signs with one of these teams before the start of the 2022-23 season. Each of them would benefit from adding one more forward to their roster, and seeing him back with the Canadiens would be the most fun to watch.

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