photo via RDS.ca
Alex Galchenyuk is proving to be that player that every team needs. The young American sniper plays with an unmatchable amount of energy and his exuberant passion for the game comes out every time he fires a puck into the back of the net. The big bodied, shifty speedster, has a great set of hands and a powerful wrister. These skills have him on pace to pot 30+ goals this season.
On top of his elite level offensive abilities, the youngster also shows signs of an able defensive mindset (career +/- +6) and is great in the faceoff circle for a young guy (FOW% this season 50%) setting him up for a strong case to soon be a true top line centerman in the NHL.
The only downside to his game is his inability to perform consistently. He will go on an absolute tear for a period of time and then disappear for a stretch. This is most likely why Coach Therrien doesn’t trust him in a full time, 1st line center position. These situations, most of the time, are solved with experience and age.
All these attributes that he utilizes at such a high level, is the reason he’s constantly brought up in trade talk for the Montreal Canadiens. Every team needs a big, defensively accountable centerman, that can also put the puck in the net.
I like to compare Galchenyuk to Evgeni Malkin.
- They are both natural centermen.
- They both play that big body finesse style of game (Galchenyuk 6’1” 207 lbs, Malkin 6’3” 195 lbs)
- They both have great puck handling abilities.
- They both have that heavy wrister that allows them to beat goaltenders.
- They both have weight behind their speed. Once they get moving it’s hard to stop them.
- With how much these two put pucks on net they both shoot at a high % (this season Galchenyuk 14.4%, Malkin 16.8%)
Malkin is a player held in high regards by the Penguins and around the league. The similar traits in their game are another case as to why Galchenyuk should be the exact opposite of trade bait. Let’s not leave out that he’s still very young and has lots of time to grow as a player. He should be a key for the future success of the Habs.
Galchenyuk, in the early stages of his NHL career, finds himself playing most of his minutes in a second line winger role, although he is a natural centerman. Below is an argument as to why 27 should be playing in the middle full time.
|53.00%||SCORING CHANCE %||51.00%|
|50.00%||GOALS FOR %||59.30%|
*table shown March 5/16 on Hockey Night in Canada. The centerman numbers have since improved.
2.1 points per 60 (as center) would rank 20th in the NHL.
With 30 top line centermen in the NHL and Galchenyuk being ranked 20th in points per 60 as a center, he is producing at a clip in line with a number one center. This is the same guy that missed out on being named to the initial roster for the U-23 North American squad at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey!
Don’t over analyze his goals for % on the wing compared to him as a center. The nature of playing the center position requires more positional responsibility, which sometimes can diminish your offensive production. Once his game fully matures, his minutes at center will drastically increase and most likely his production will as well.
Nearing the end of the 2015-2016 NHL regular season campaign, Galchenyuk finds himself surging hot with 11 goals in his past eight contests, producing at 1.38 goals per game over the span.
This season, 27 is tied for the most two goal game performances.
|NHL Leaders – Multi-Goal Games|
|5 Others Tied At||6|
|Galchenyuk: six two goal games in last 13 contests.|
Galchenyuk should have a full time, top line center position, within the next year and should truly shine as the Montreal Canadiens next superstar forward.