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Will Alex Galchenyuk Make the Maple Leafs’ Lineup this Season?

The Toronto Maple Leafs took a flyer when they signed Alex Galchenyuk. Will he be able to make the Maple Leafs’ lineup this season?

What Toronto Maple Leafs’ Fans Know About Alex Galchenyuk

Here’s what Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans know about Alex Galchenyuk.

  1. He was drafted third over all in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens.
  2. His first professional hockey game was with the Canadiens in the 2012-13 NHL season. He never played a shift in the minors, until this season.
  3. During the 2015-16 NHL season he scored 30 goals and added 26 assists (for 56 points) in an 82-game season.
  4. During the 2018-19 season, he moved to the Arizona Coyotes and put up 19 goals. He lasted only one season there.
  5. In 2019-20, he played for two teams – the Pittsburgh Penguins (for 45 games) and the Minnesota Wild (for 14 games).
  6. He signed with the Ottawa Senators this season, played eight games and was traded with Cedric Paquette from the Senators to the Carolina Hurricanes for Ryan Dzingel.
  7. The Hurricanes waived him so they could designate him to their taxi squad. No one picked him up, but then he was traded to the Maple Leafs.
  8. The Maple Leafs quickly moved him to the team’s AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies. And, there he plays – currently.
Alex Galchenyuk trade rumors NHL
Alex Galchenyuk when he played with the Penguins

The only sense one can make from this NHL career trajectory is that we’re looking at a young man who’s career seems to be tanking. He starts off strong enough, and then spirals downwards.

And that’s the player Maple Leafs’ general manager traded for and now has in his organization. What’s the plan anyway?

Related: Maple Leafs Looking for Grit, Not Skill at NHL Trade Deadline

Galchenyuk Is Reported to Be Working Hard in the AHL

Many Maple Leafs fans wondered why the team would take a chance on Galchenyuk after he failed so many other places. Is this his last chance at an NHL career?

If it is, don’t tell that to Galchenyuk. He obviously thinks he has a chance to make the Maple Leafs’ roster this season because he’s obviously – from what we hear from the Marlies – set his mind to it.

The reports Maple Leafs’ fans are hearing is that Galchenyuk hit the Marlies’ ice skating; and, he hasn’t slowed down. So far, in the four games he’s played with the team, he has scored four points.

In Saturday’s loss to the Stockton Heat (playing out of Calgary these days), Galchenyuk had a goal and an assist. Specifically, Galchenyuk goal came at 1:06 of the third period and he also added a primary assist on Teemu Kivihalme’s goal. The goal was the first of Galchenyuk’s AHL career.

Marlies Head Coach Greg Moore Praises Galchenyuk’s Drive

As Marlies’ head coach Greg Moore reported, Galchenyuk has “bought in since Day 1.”

Moore added, “His competitiveness is radiating through the locker room. He came into today a man on a mission. In the second intermission (before his points) he wanted to be a game changer. He’s a special player. You definitely get a better feel for your own game after that. It all comes with the games, getting the touches, the looks. You can practice as much as you can, but only in a game can you get better. I’ve played a lot of minutes, getting my game where it should be.”

So Why Has Galchenyuk Been Languishing? And, What’s the Team’s Plan for Him?

It’s tough to say what has held a 27-year-old young man like Galchenyuk, who obviously has so many tools – and retains them – back from having a solid NHL career. Is it a mental thing with Galchenyuk? As his Marlies’ coach attests, the youngster still has NHL-caliber talent.

What we don’t know yet is his destination for the season or even the Maple Leafs’ organization’s plans for him. It’s silly to think the team signed him to just suit up with he Marlies.

But we do know that Galchenyuk is not taking the opportunity for granted. In that, good for him. He’s not sulking after the first demotion of his NHL career. He’s in the minors, and he’s obviously trying to get out. And, the only place for him to go in this organization is to the parent club – the Maple Leafs.

Alex Galchenyuk Wild
Alex Galchenyuk with the Minnesota Wild

Obviously, general manager’s Kyle Dubas has a reason for taking a flyer on the once high-scoring Montreal Canadiens’ rookie. Further, obviously Dubas thinks there’s a chance Galchenyuk can make a difference later this season for the Maple Leafs.

Will he have that chance? Here’s betting we see him in a Maple Leafs’ uniform before the season’s out.

Related: Why the Maple Leafs’ Jimmy Vesey Is Valuable Even Without Scoring

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