It wasn’t too long ago when Alex Galchenyuk was one of the bright young stars of the NHL. He scored a combined 50 goals from 2014-2016 and was just 20-years-old.
It’s amazing how times have changed.
Galchenyuk, for the most part, has been relegated to the fourth line as he continues to struggle with new Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien.
Julien was hired to replace Michel Therrien on Feb. 11. Before he was hired, Galchenyuk had 12 goals and 29 points. After Therrien was fired, he tallied just 5 goals in the last 24 games.
That trend has continued so far in 2017-18. He has 5 goals and 11 points. Galchenyuk went nearly a month without scoring a goal (October 30 to November 25).
Not only has the production fallen off, but so has his time on the ice. According to Hockeyreference.com, Galchenyuk averaged around 19 minutes-per-game over the final 19 games last season. So far in 2017-18 he is average slightly more than 14 minutes-per-game, with his ice time seeing a slight uptick recently.
Could the reduced minutes be a product of a lack of production? Or is the lack of production a result of playing fewer minutes in a bottom six role? After all, Galchenyuk was scoring at a top six pace prior to this season.
Galchenyuk has fallen out of favor with Julien, general manager Marc Bergevin, and, according to reports, Bergevin has been contacted by teams about Galchenyuk’s services.
Could the Dallas Stars be a possible suitor to make a deal with Montreal for Galchenyuk? The short answer is: possibly.
There is no denying Galchenyuk’s talent. He wasn’t selected third overall back in 2012 for no reason in what was a pretty stacked class with names such as Nail Yakupov, Filip Forsberg, Matthew Dumba and Jacob Trouba.
The issue with Galchenyuk and his fir in Dallas might be his position: center.
Dallas already has a logjam at center, as eight of its 13 forwards are centers, with many playing wing today. Head coach Ken Hitchcock and fenral manager Jim Nill would have their work cutout for them if they were to add another center to that mix.
Would he play wing? Well he already is and it doesn't seem to be working. Linemate Jonathan Drouin has been playing center. Bergevin made it clear to start the year that Galchenyuk would not be a center.
Another concern regarding any deal for Galchenyuk would be what Montreal would ask for him. Even though his struggles persist, he still is a third overall pick with immense talent and not far removed from a 30-goal season.
Bergevin would most likely ask for a defenseman in any deal. After Shea Weber and Karl Alzner, Montreal’s D-core is thin. Names such as Jordie Benn, David Schlemko, Joe Morrow, Jeff Petry and Brandon Davidson round out the group. Not exactly striking fear in anyone.
Dallas doesn’t have many chips on the backend to deal that would be the caliber Montreal would likely be looking for in a return for Galchenyuk. Ruling out players such as Marc Methot and John Klingberg, the other current NHL veteran defenseman “available” would be Stephen Johns, Jamie Oleksiak, Esa Lindell, Dan Hamhuis and Greg Pateryn.
One would think Nill wouldn’t entertain a deal including prospect Julius Honka. Dallas does have the third overall pick in the 2017 draft, Miro Heiskanen, waiting. He is currently lighting it up in Finland: 9 goals and 4 assists in 16 games. Does that make a player like Honka expendable, in a way?
Not to mention, Dallas would likely have to include a forward with a decent cap hit in the deal in order to make Galchenyuk fit onto the roster.
The problem is not an easy one to solve. They would gain consistent scoring by having Galchenyuk on the roster, but could create a different kind of problem for themselves depending on the pieces it would take to acquire him.
Bergevin would most likely want to deal Galchenyuk to a Western Conference club, so the Stars fit in that regard. The rest is trickier.
At what cost are the Stars willing to pay for a player like a Galchenyuk? Would they consider dealing a piece that could hurt the future (say, dealing Honka) for immediate help?
If they believe their window is open now, the Stars might consider it a cost worth paying.