The Montreal Canadiens and forward Alex Galchenyuk have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension worth $14.7 million, the Canadiens announced Wednesday. The deal comes with an annual cap hit of $4.9 million and will take the 23-year-old Galchenyuk to unrestricted free agency ahead of the 2021 offseason and per Renaud Lavoie, the deal does no contain any no-trade clauses or signing bonuses. This contract signing comes just two days after the Canadiens lost forward Alexander Radulov to the Dallas Stars in free agency after he agreed to terms on a five-year contract.
Canadiens sign Alex Galchenyuk to a three-year contract.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) July 5, 2017
Fresh off of his fifth season in the NHL, Galchenyuk scored 17 goals and 44 points in 61 games last season while adding three assists in six playoff games. The year started off promisingly enough for Galchenyuk who had steadily improved his games played, goals and point totals in every year since entering the league in the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season. In his first 20 games, Galchenyuk scored eight goals and 21 points. Unfortunately, Galchenyuk’s white hot start hit a road block when he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for six weeks.
Upon returning to the Canadiens lineup, his season couldn’t have taken a bigger turn for the worse. In the final 20 games of the season, Galchenyuk scored just four goals and 13 points – including one goal and three points in the final 11 games to close out the season. From the Canadiens best forward to a player relegated to a fourth-line role, it was far from what many were expecting from the third-overall pick from 2012 in his fifth season in the league. Despite that slow finish, Galchenyuk still finished the season on pace for 23 goals and 59 points in a full 82 games – a pro-rated number that, while not 100 percent guaranteed, still shows that Galchenyuk’s year wasn’t as bad as many are claiming it to have been.
Galchenyuk’s Role on the Canadiens
Now that Galchenyuk is locked up for another three seasons at a reasonable cap hit of $4.9 million, the team will have to make a decision. With new head coach Claude Julien in the fold, Galchenyuk’s position on the team should start to become more clear as the offseason progresses. Whether he plays center or he plays on the wing, consistent playing time in one position is important for a young player looking to prove his worth to a team. It hasn’t ben an easy ride for Galchenyuk as he’s been shifted from center to the wing more times than the Canadiens have won Stanley Cups.
After weeks of rumors about Galchenyuk potentially being on the move through trade, it appears the Canadiens are ready to start him fresh with a new coach and a potential linemate in Jonathan Drouin. It’s been a long and busy offseason for the Canadiens, but they just checked off another big item on their to-do list, and it’s only July 5. Canadiens’ general manager Marc Bergevin still has to make a decision of defenseman Andrei Markov while also figuring out the rest of the roster, but at the very least, the Galchenyuk situation is sorted.