When Alex Galchenyuk was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs last season from the Carolina Hurricanes (for Egor Korshkov and David Warsofsky), really no one thought too much about it. The 27-year-old forward had had so many second chances, most Maple Leafs’ fans seemed to believe this would be just another failed attempt to reclaim a player from the past that hadn’t been seen in quite a while.
For me, it seemed like one of those chances the Maple Leafs seemed to take once in a while to go for a home run. And, I also thought it probably wasn’t going to work. Then a funny thing happened.
Galchenyuk Came In and Worked Hard
Galchenyuk, who had never played in the minors before, reported to the Toronto Marlies. Then, word started to trickle in that he was serious about his attempt to make the team. In fact, he wasn’t dialing it in at all.
These second reports about how hard a worker he was seemed surprising – at least to me. It also revealed my own attitude and showed my own biases. Deep down I believed that a player like Galchenyuk, who had shown NHL-level talent, probably had a less than stellar attitude. That proved incorrect. His attitude was great.
Although Galchenyuk didn’t have a huge statistical season, he continued to show that he had come to play and would work hard. He had 12 points (four goals and eight assists) in 26 games he played for the Maple Leafs, and didn’t look out of place at all in the top six of the team. In six playoff games, he also scored four points (including three in a single game). But he did make a mistake that led to a goal. He turned out to be a low-risk and high-reward pick up.
Coming to the Maple Leafs Had to Have Helped Galchenyuk
The trade also had to work for Galchenyuk. Given the organization’s focus on player development and the work of the coaching staff, Galchenyuk was able to lift his play and also bring back some of his confidence. In fact, the Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas at the end of the season reported to the media said he wanted the Wisconson-born Galchenyuk back with the team.
If I were Galchenyuk, at that point I would have said to myself that – after being a hockey gypsy for a few seasons – it might be best to find a place to land where (a) I was wanted, (b) where I would have a chance to play with strong players and have a statistically-solid season, (c) where the team would be successful, and (d) where I could have a chance to earn my next bigger contract. Plus, it had to feel as if there was a spot where he was wanted instead of having to constantly having to start over.
So, Where Did Galchenyuk Go?
Given all this, including his history, I’m surprised there’s been no re-signing with the Maple Leafs. Everything seemed to be pointing towards that conclusion. So where is Galchenyuk? Will he re-sign with the Maple Leafs or is he moving on?
It seems he wanted as a player. I’ve heard rumors that his old Montreal Canadiens’ team was interested in re-signing him. And, from Dubas’ comment just when the offseason started, you have a sense that the Maple Leafs would be interested. Smart money suggests he goes to one of those two places.
Why Galchenyuk would want to start over in another organization would be confusing to me. Why not stay and build on a place where you are wanted, even if it isn’t – at least now – for top dollar?
What We Know Now About Galchenyuk
There’s one thing that we don’t know as fans. What will the cost of a contract be? What is his agent seeking? Logic suggests that Galchenyuk’s contract for last season was $1.05 million; and, given everything that’s happened, one cannot imagine it would be much more than that dollar amount this season.
The other thing Maple Leafs’ fans don’t know is whether Dubas’ signings over the offseason answered his own needs enough so that Galchenyuk became a less-interesting option for the team.
So that’s where it seems to stand right now. The Canadiens are rumored to be interested. The Maple Leafs said earlier they were interested. Now, we are just waiting to see what works out.
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