USATSI_9958511_154158418_lowresThe Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Alex Galchenyuk to a three-year contract worth a reported total value of $14.7 million, which amounts to an average annual value of $4.9 million.

The 23-year-old restricted free agent had 44 points in 61 regular season games in 2016-2017 and missed six weeks with a knee injury. He had six game-winning goals, five of which came in overtime. In six playoff games, he had three assists.

The Canadiens have been relatively busy this off-season. Alexander Radulov left as a free agent and signed in Dallas, plus they signed goalie Carey Price to an eight-year contract extension. Karl Alzner was signed as a free agent and Jonathan Drouin was acquired in a trade and inked to a six-year contract.

Galchenyuk was drafted third overall by the Habs in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has thus far skated in 336 regular season games, all with Montreal. He has 204 points, including 89 goals and 115 assists. In 28 playoff games, he has 13 points.

Galchenyuk was set to file for salary arbitration, but the Canadiens were able to avoid the process by signing him. He was apparently open to a one-year contract, so Montreal had to play things carefully. Signing him to a one-year deal would’ve been a way for general manager Marc Bergevin to effectively rearrange the deck chairs, which in turn wouldn’t have changed a thing next season.

The plan appears to be to stick Galchenyuk as the top line centre, which is why he was drafted in the first place. Some of that may come down to head coach Claude Julien, who’ll have to either start trusting his centre or make a decision to move him around.

The contract also put the Habs in decent financial position. Bergevin has about $9.16 million in available cap space as of now with 22 players signed, which means he has some room to move. They have just one restricted free agent to sign in AHL netminder Charlie Lindgren.

Galchenyuk will be an unrestricted free agent when his new deal expires, which means he’ll have some time to prove his mettle before the process begins all over again.

Advertisements