When the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Alex Galchenyuk, it was an opportunity for the team to help get the player’s career back on track. It was also a chance for him to show that he’s still capable of making an impact at the NHL level like he did early on in his career. That was evident in the Maple Leafs 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers as he was a major offensive contributor. His presence in a middle six role is becoming a key factor as Maple Leafs captain John Tavares had great praise for Galchenyuk and his impact to the team, especially in their comeback win.
That praise is well deserving. Galchenyuk’s offensive presence was noticeable in the third period as he assisted on both Tavares’ and William Nylander’s goal. Both were nice assists– the first being on a tic-tac-toe play in the offensive zone and the other was a great read to find Nylander in the open ice for a perfect shot on Oilers goaltender Mike Smith.
The Wait is Paying Off
It took some time, but the Maple Leafs are seeing the wait in Galchenyuks’s development pay off. They’re starting to reap the rewards in revitalizing his career.
After an impressive stint with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL where he posted six assists and eight points in six games, he earned the chance to get another opportunity in the NHL. With forwards Jimmy Vesey and Travis Boyd being picked up on waivers by the Vancouver Canucks and Wayne Simmonds coming back from injury, this was his break to get into the lineup and stay there with the work he’s put in.
Galchenyuk has provided great speed and skill on a team that prioritizes that. He’s also been noticeable on the forecheck, bringing a strong presence to get into the tough areas and battle in the offensive zone. It’s been four games but he’s managed to register three assists and has great possession numbers. He has a strong 60.56 Corsi for percentage and an expected goals for percentage of 72.88. The chemistry he has formed with Tavares and Nylander is showing, as that line was the difference maker for them in that game. Galchenyuk was even close to scoring his first goal as Maple Leaf.
The Maple Leafs are still in search of a top-six forward as the trade deadline approaches. Whether or not Galchenyuk is still in that spot, he has proven to be a key asset for the team going forward.