Galchenyuk happy with three-year deal

Slowed by knee in­jury last sea­son, 23-year-old vows to bounce back for Cana­di­ens; signs con­tract worth $14.7 mil­lion with NHL club

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - BILL BEACON

MON­TREAL — Alex Galchenyuk is look­ing for­ward to a bounce­back sea­son with the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens.

The 23-year-old for­ward, who strug­gled with a knee in­jury last sea­son after break­ing out with 30 goals in 2015-16, said on a con­fer­ence call Thurs­day that his main aim is to help the Cana­di­ens go far­ther than their dis­ap­point­ing firstround play­off exit in April.

Galchenyuk avoided ar­bi­tra­tion by sign­ing a three-year $14.7mil­lion US con­tract on Wed­nes­day, which car­ries a salary cap hit of $4.9 mil­lion per sea­son. “I ex­pect to win,” he said. “I know I can bring a lot to the team.

“After a dis­ap­point­ing (play­offs) last sea­son, we want to get to the top. We want to prove people wrong.”

Galchenyuk was among 30 Na­tional Hockey League play­ers to file for ar­bi­tra­tion, but he never doubted that agent Pat Bris­son and gen­eral man­ager Marc Bergevin would come to an agree­ment be­fore it went to hear­ings. The con­tract was an­nounced shortly after the ar­bi­tra­tion list was re­leased.

He was also pleased with the three-year term, even though many other high-skill play­ers his age sign longer deals. His cov­ers his last two years of el­i­gi­bil­ity for re­stricted free agency and one year of un­re­stricted free agency. Galchenyuk, drafted third over­all in 2012, has had an up and down first five years in the NHL.

“I think where I’m at in terms of my ca­reer now, after play­ing five years, I thought (a three-year con­tract) was the right thing to do,” he said.

Also, he has yet to es­tab­lish him­self as a top-line cen­tre, a spot the Cana­di­ens need des­per­ately to fill. He has been used mainly on left wing.

His pref­er­ence be­tween wing and cen­tre is per­haps the ques­tion he has been asked most since he’s been in the NHL.

“That was part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions — a clause in my con­tract is when­ever I’m asked the ques­tion I can walk away from the scrum now,” he joked.

Alex Galchenyuk

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