With the Arizona Coyotes officially in offseason mode, I’m taking a look each week at a player from the team and review their season. First up this week is forward Alex Galchenyuk. No stranger to the desert, he made his way back to the Valley of the Sun for the first time since 2018-19 this offseason, signing a one-year contract after attending training camp on a professional tryout.
This past season was filled with plenty of ups and downs for the Coyotes forward, who was on his fifth team in the past four seasons. Scheduled to hit the free-agent market this summer, where he wants to go next is the topic on peoples’ minds, and whether or not the Coyotes should look into re-signing him.
Season In Review
Galchenyuk’s season was not great on first glance. Originally bounced in-and-out of the lineup as a healthy scratch or for COVID-19 protocol reasons along with injuries for the first half of the season, no one expected him to be around after the trade deadline. He used this as motivation, eventually finding himself as a regular on the Coyotes’ second and third lines after a string of injuries plagued the team near the season’s end. In 60 games during the course of the season, he registered six goals and 15 assists for 21 points.
While that might not catch at lot of attention around the league, it was a much-needed relief and boost for the Wisconsin native, and current unrestricted free agent, who recorded his highest career points totals since his last stint with the Coyotes during the 2018-19 season.
While Galchenyuk’s best days seem to be behind him, he provided plenty of positives and memorable moments to a Coyotes team that’s currently going through what looks to be a lengthy rebuild. While he could’ve chosen to go elsewhere, he chose Arizona. He never complained this season, even when he got scratched for two games for rookie newcomers Jack McBain and Nate Smith.
“I couldn’t pass because in my heart I always felt I’d be here”Alex Galchenyuk on his reasoning for coming back to Arizona. (from ‘Alex Galchenyuk on his PTO opportunity with the Coyotes: ‘I couldn’t pass because in my heart I always felt I’d be here,’ GoPHNX, 9/24/21)
What Galchenyuk Can Improve On, Build Off Of
Before he figures out his next contract situation, Galchenyuk has some parts of his own game to work on if he wants to prove to general managers (GM) around the league that he’s worthy of an NHL contract. For starters, he isn’t as flashy as he once looked. His play without the puck over the last couple of years has looked poor, and that has resulted in him bouncing in and out of the lineup this past season. These are just some things that have prohibited him from finding a permanent home since originally being dealt out of Montreal. He’s also struggled in the plus/minus category for the majority of his career, averaging a minus-77 rating.
While there’s things he can improve on, there’s also parts to Galchenyuk’s game that he can build off of that will help him draw some interest from teams, the Coyotes included. For one, he owns a very good shot and tends to shoot at sight, which allows him to a dangerous power play-forward. He also possesses great puck control and quick hands, which allow him to outplay others in tight spaces.
Galchenyuk’s Next Moves
While it seems like Arizona is where he wants to be, the feeling may not be mutual in the front office. GM Bill Armstrong has already stated that the team will look drastically different next season. Many of the Coyotes’ current restricted and unrestricted free agents may not receive contract extensions, and Galchenyuk may be one of them. That decision is up to the organization, and until then, he will look forward to the 2022 World Championships in Finland.
The team’s direction is headed towards youth, and at 28 years of age, he is approaching the end of his prime. The team nevertheless will still need some veteran presence, as it may be hard to attract free agents for the next couple of seasons. This leaves the door cracked for a possible return to the Valley for Galchenyuk.
While he’s shown glimpses and flashes of what he was able to do in juniors and early on in his career, Galchenyuk has ultimately never really been able to put it all together on a consistent basis, hence the reason he’s bounced around from team to team in the past four years. The team knew this and took a gamble, paying him a cheap $750,000 contract, which on paper paid off well at the end of the day.
The Coyotes are optimistic about the future of the organization and team. If they are looking for a solid third-line player who can help mentor and chip in at times, while also wanting to be here, then look no further than Galchenyuk. What do you think? Should the Coyotes bring him back? Lets us know in the comments section below.
Mr. Evans is originally from Greenville, SC where he currently resides. Mr. Evans has been involved in hockey for the past 17 years now, following the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. During his free time, Mr. Evans enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend as well as being up in the mountains or taking pictures. Prior to joining The Hockey Writers, Mr. Evans previously worked for The Puck Authority, covering the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and FanSided’s Bleedin’ Blue, covering the St. Louis Blues. You can find Mr. Evans on Twitter at @HaynesPEvans.