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
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.