The Montreal Canadiens continue to rotate between bright and puzzling moves with the announcement of a three-year deal for Alex Galchenyuk.
Galchenyuk, whose name comes up repeatedly in trade rumors and who apparently cannot thrive as a center, will carry a $4.9 million cap hit, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.
(Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston and plenty of others back up that number. Johnston notes that Galchenyuk will be a UFA when this deal expires.)
At 23, Galchenyuk’s already shown some flashes of brilliance, and – on paper – could stand as a player who could grow into his contract much like newly acquired forward Jonathan Drouin.
That said, Galchenyuk’s time with the Canadiens parallels Drouin’s troubles with the Tampa Bay Lightning, making one wonder if he’ll really stick or instead be moved later. Montreal experienced a similar tug-of-war with P.K. Subban before ultimately trading him to Nashville, after all.
As it stands, this is a great deal for the Habs. Apparently Galchenyuk initially filed for salary arbitration, but that’s no longer a concern.
GM Marc Bergevin & Co. have absorbed plenty of criticism over the years, yet they’ve done well to experience savings with many RFAs, including Max Pacioretty at $4.5M per season. There’s a strong chance that Galchenyuk will continue that trend.
Of course, as significant as this re-signing is, the Carey Price extension remains the pivotal moment of Montreal’s off-season. That said, it’s been a busy time, with the likes of Alex Radulov, Alexei Emelin, Nathan Beaulieu, and prospect Mikhail Sergachev leaving town while Ales Hemsky and Karl Alzner are big additions.
The Canadiens have solid space (Cap Friendly places it at $9.16 million) remaining if they want to add, say, some defensive help.
Considering the rumblings of Galchenyuk being moved, this deal almost makes him feel like an addition, too.