Frozen Pool Forensics: Alex Galchenyuk

by Cam Robinson on March 11, 2016

Galchenyuk is one of the hottest players in the league, is he finally breaking out?

It wasn’t supposed to take this long for Alex Galchenyuk to make his mark with the Montreal Canadiens. The American born and Russian-raised sniper was sidelined for much of his 2012 draft season with an ACL injury. That didn’t stop the Habs from selecting him third overall and him subsequently making the team the following January when the lockout ended.  

 

Expectations were tempered at first as the club slowly introduced Galchenyuk to the rigours of the pro game, starting him out with just 12:19 of ice time through the shortened 48-game season. He performed admirably however, scoring nine goals and 27 points to go along with a plus-14 rating.

 

Here comes the kicker though: perform well as a teenager in a white-hot Canadian market and the fans will expect the moon. Well, Galchenyuk is now in the ever-important fourth campaign of his career and while the moon has yet to be reached, he has been acting like a star of late.

 

Drafted as a centre out of Sarnia of the OHL, scouts and coaches have at times questioned Galchenyuk’s ability to play away from the puck and whether or not he has the strength to match up against other team’s premier number one centres. This has led to the 22-year-old spending the majority of his young career playing left wing in a mostly secondary role. That is, until this season.

 

Galchenyuk has finally been given the opportunity to consistently play his natural position, a position that from a purely offensive viewpoint is where he looks the most dangerous. To his credit, Galchenyuk has fared well defensively and in the faceoff dot. He has won 49.6 percent of his draws this year (263/530), far and away the most faceoffs he’s taken in his career. In fact, he’s taken more faceoffs this season, then he took in his first three seasons combined.

 

Galchenyuk has a long way to go before he can be considered a top line pivot, however producing at the clip he is now – scoring two goals in three straight games and compiling 11 goals and 12 points in his last eight games, is a tantalizing window into the possibility of this young man’s potential.

 

No one has scored more goals than Galchenyuk in the past month as seen here using Dobber’s Report Generator.

 

Top 10 Goal Scoring Categories Feb.10-Mar.10

All situational strength goals and game winning goals.

Rank

Name

Pos

Age

Yrs

Team

GR

GP

EV

PP

SH

GW

Total

1

GALCHENYUK,ALEX

C

22

2

MTL

14

13

10

3

0

2

13

2

FORSBERG,FILIP

L

21

2

NSH

14

14

9

2

0

1

11

3

OVECHKIN,ALEXANDER

L

30

9

WSH

14

15

6

4

0

0

10

4

ERIKSSON,LOUI

L

30

8

BOS

13

16

8

1

0

3

9

5

MARCHAND,BRAD

C

27

5

BOS

13

16

7

1

1

2

9

6

SCHEIFELE,MARK

C

22

3

WPG

15

14

7

2

0

2

9

7

SMITH,ZACK

C

27

6

OTT

13

15

5

3

1

2

9

8

BERGERON,PATRICE

C

30

10

BOS

13

14

8

1

0

1

9

9

STAMKOS,STEVEN

C

26

6

T.B

15

14

5

2

0

1

8

10

SCHENN,BRAYDEN

C

24

5

PHI

16

13

5

3

0

3

8

 

 

His recent hot-streak as brought his season totals up to 25 goals and 46 points through 68 games, a number that ties his career-high mark from last season, while still having 14 games left to play. That 0.68 point-per-game pace is also the highest of his career, as is his 174 shots on goal.

 

Even with an uptick in volume of shots, Galchenyuk is sustaining this level of play with a 14.4 percent personal shooting percentage – a number that represents just a 1.7 percent jump on his career mark of 12.7. These numbers are offering a good indication that he is beginning to fulfill his draft-day prophesy as a burgeoning sniper.

 

Coach Michel Therrien has seen fit to allot Galchenyuk a hearty 62 percent start time in the offensive end to go along with an increased role on the team’s first line and first power-play unit in recent weeks. Galchenyuk has gone from seeing under 16 minutes per night and around 45 percent of his team’s power-play time, often from the second unit, to 20 minute games and upwards of 66 percent of the available power-play time next to the team’s best offensive weapons.

 

Games between 2016-02-19 and 2016-03-10

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

31.08%

PP

ANDRIGHETTO,SVEN – GALCHENYUK,ALEX – PACIORETTY,MAX

20.27%

PP

ANDRIGHETTO,SVEN – ELLER,LARS – GALCHENYUK,ALEX

18.92%

PP

GALCHENYUK,ALEX – GALLAGHER,BRENDAN – PLEKANEC,TOMAS

10.81%

PP

ELLER,LARS – GALCHENYUK,ALEX – MCCARRON,MICHAEL

9.46%

PP

ANDRIGHETTO,SVEN – GALCHENYUK,ALEX – MCCARRON,MICHAEL

6.76%

PP

GALCHENYUK,ALEX – MCCARRON,MICHAEL – PACIORETTY,MAX

 

So where does Galchenyuk fit in Montreal’s long term plans? Looking at the centres position, both he and David Desharnais’ contracts expire at the end of next season, and while Galchenyuk will still be under team control as a RFA, Desharnais will be unrestricted. Tomas Plekanec will be 35 when his contract ends in 2017-18 and is a prime target to move on or accept a pay cut. What we have now is a try-out situation. The remaining 15 games of this year will give coaches and management a glimpse into what next season’s line up may look like.

 

In a lost season such as this one for the Canadiens, they have nothing left to do but give their young players auditions for more permanent and important roles. If the past month is any indication, Alex Galchenyuk is grabbing that opportunity by the throat and holding on tightly. Both fantasy owners and Montreal Canadiens’ fans alike are hoping he’s got a strong grip.

 

Projected point-per-game-pace for the remaining schedule: 0.65 – 0.70

 

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