On February 15th, 2020, the Toronto Maple Leafs confirmed Alex Galchenyuk’s arrival in exchange for David Warsofsky and Yegor Korshkov. Having played for nine years in the NHL, the left-wing is yet to establish himself as a mainstay in any top division team. Although he lined up for the Montreal Canadians between 2012 and 2018, he was later traded to the Arizona Coyotes for Max Domi. At his best, Galchenyuk was a formidable player for the 24-time Stanley Cup winners, enjoying numerous fruitful campaigns for La Sainte-Flanelle. Despite recent struggles, few can doubt his talent, but now it’s time to deliver. So, can Sheldon Keefe get the best out of his new addition?
Needing to Find Consistency
It speaks volumes about the direction in which the 27-year-old’s career has gone in that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the sixth outfit that he’s joined since 2018-19. That said, there’s nothing to say that he can’t get things back on track under Keefe. In many ways, the decision to recruit the Milwaukee-born left-wing is one where the potential rewards far outweigh the risks.
Before even stepping onto the rink in a Bay Street Blues jersey, Galchenyuk has played 557 times in the NHL, which is an impressive total because his opportunities were somewhat limited over the past few seasons. In front of goal, the 27-year-old enjoyed his best campaign for the Montreal Canadiens back in 2015-16. During that spell, he scored 30 goals in 82 appearances and provided 26 assists.
As time progressed, he grew increasingly influential for the Habs, recording 32 assists in 2017-18. To date, this remains the highest total of his career, although it proved to be his last season for the Canadiens. Following that, he then failed to hit the heights for the Arizona Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, and Ottawa Senators. Although this move to the Bay Street Blues doesn’t represent his final opportunity, Wayne Simmonds’ injury opens the door for Galchenyuk to establish himself and prove his worth.
Plenty of Experience Under his Belt
In NHL history, only two other teams have featured in the Stanley Cup more than the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the time of writing, the Blue Street Bays have appeared in 21 finals. Of those, they have won 13, giving them a 61.9 success rate. However, they last played in the event back in 1967, when they defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.
Regarding the Leafs’ pursuit of returning to the pinnacle, their acquisition of Galchenyuk appears to be a particularly smart one. Although the 27-year-old has never won the Stanley Cup, he has made 32 playoff appearances thus far in his career. During those games, he’s risen to the occasion, scoring four goals and creating a further nine.
As such, the Milwaukee-born left-wing not only adds depth to the Leafs’ roster, but he also brings much-needed playoff experience. As of February 16th, the Bay Street Blues are 8/1 in NHL betting odds to win the Stanley Cup at the end of the 2020-21 season. If Galchenyuk can replicate his 2015-16 form, Keefe’s team could surpass expectations and end their long-awaited pursuit of their 14th Stanley Cup.
A Gamble Worth Taking
Based on previous outings, there are no guarantees that Galchenyuk can play at his peak level anymore. However, because there’s the slightest chance that he can, it’s worth the Leafs’ showing faith in him. Ultimately, the 27-year-old has lacked consistency on and off the rink since 2018, and the Bay Street Blues present him with a chance to re-establish himself as a leading NHL player.