Galchenyuk: Out of The Habs’ Control

By JD Lagrange – Merely 12 days after signing with the Arizona Coyotes as a free agent, Alex Galchenyuk was placed on waivers by the team for the purpose of mutual contract termination, the team announced.

Scottsdale Police Department has confirmed that Galchenyuk was arrested on July 9th on a number of charges including private property hit and run, disorderly conduct, failure to obey, resisting arrest, threatening or intimidating. On the hit and run incident, police said that “it was only property damage and no injuries.” Jail official said he was booked into city jail on Sunday evening and released the following day on his own recognizance. According to court records, Galchenyuk was arraigned on Monday and will have to appear in Court.

2012 NHL Draft

If we circle back to the summer of 2012, we will remember that the Montreal Canadiens were picking third overall. Marc Bergevin was hired in May as the new Canadiens General Manager and a month later, he was set to announce the Canadiens’ pick with his right-hand man Trevor Timmins. Nail Yakupov was the consensus number one pick but after him, lists were all over the place.

It’s too easy, in hindsight, to redo a Draft. Thankfully, the site had done a consolidated rankings’ list from some of the most prominent draft experts for the 2012 NHL Draft.

Revisionists will claim that the Canadiens should have picked Morgan Rielly or Filip Forsberg but at the time, picking Galchenyuk was not a reach. The only question mark about him was that he had missed a big part of the season due to a knee injury, which turned out not to be an issue in his career.

Habs’ debuts

Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk

Galchenuyk surprised many by making the Canadiens at 18 years of age, straight from junior. Wanting to develop the kid slowly, head coach Michel Therrien, recognizing that the position of center in the NHL brings a lot of responsibilities, decided to play him on the wing most times. While that decision didn’t sit well with some fans, it was the right decision for the kid.

Similarly, the Canadiens also decided to keep their last two high draft picks in Montreal immediately after being drafted: Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3rd overall in 2018) and Juraj Slafkovsky (1st overall in 2022) were management decisions to slowly develop them at the NHL level instead of sending them down for one more season. But I regress… back to the topic.

The young Galchenyuk had a steady, but positive progress in his first four seasons in the NHL, reaching the 30 goals plateau for the first (and only) time in the 2015-2016 season. At that point, he was vastly out-producing all draft picks in his class of 2012. And that’s when things started unraveling for him, and started his downwards spiral.

NHL Standard career statistics
ScorScorScor GoalGoalGoal Shot
Career11 yrs654146208354-852571044221127414:4446.8
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2023.

Fatherly advice

Galchenyuk and the coaching staff started having differences of opinions. Yet, it seemed like the Canadiens’ decisions were working for the young man, but it was reported later that Alexander Galchenyuk senior, the father, had a lot of influence on his son.

RDS reporter François Gagnon reported that journalists often witnessed Galchenyuk Sr. berating his son after games, going as far as telling him not to listen to his coach. As you can imagine, that would not sit well with any NHL coach, even less on guys like Michel Therrien and his boss, Marc Bergevin!

This led to Galchenyuk’s production dwindling down to less than 20 goals each of the next two seasons, forcing Bergevin’s hand to trade the then 23 year-old to Arizona for Max Domi. Galchenyuk scored 19 goals in his first year in the desert, but never managed more than eight goals the rest of his career, bouncing from team to team.

After the trade, teammates went off-the-record confirming that Galchenyuk was constantly communicating his his father via text message in between periods, not a normal practice by NHL players who must focus on the game.


As you can see, contrarily to what some claim, the Canadiens didn’t select the wrong player at the 2012 NHL Draft. They did everything right with his development, at least in my humble opinion.

In spite of lackluster seasons since leaving the Canadiens, Galchenyuk is still one of the most productive players of the 2012 Draft Class. He is, to this day:

  • 7th in GP
  • 3rd in Goals
  • 8th in Assists
  • 5th in Points

When Bergevin said, in the past, that development is not only on the team, but on the player himself, he was right. There are factors that teams don’t control and in this case, an overzealous father giving horrible advice to his son has been a major contributor to Alex Galchenyuk’s downwards spiralling career… getting him to where he’s at today. Get well Alex and cut that umbilical cord with your father… for your own good. It would be great to see you have a good end to your career.

2 thoughts on “Galchenyuk: Out of The Habs’ Control

  1. I did not necessarily agree with not developing him as a centre. The yr he scored 30 goals he was moved to centre and was very productive as he and Pacioretty carried the team the last
    half of that yr. They did the same thing with KK. Both these young men could have performed as 3rd line centres getting used to the NHL game without putting on the wing where they both were less productive. But the bottom line was someone needed to take his father aside and shut him up. That was the worse part of him not developing properly not only as a hockey player but also as a person. That is how I see it anyway.

    1. According to Dobbers Hockey, Galchenyuk only played centre for Pacioretty (and Andrighetto) about 15-20% of the time. He mostly played wing with Eller and Plekanec’s lines.

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