If you’re a Bleacher Report reader (like I am) and an obsessive one at that (like I am) then you probably read Dave Lozo’s ‘Bold Predictions’ article late last week, featuring one prediction per team in the league. Some of them were pretty out-there, while others really gave you something to chew over.
But not all of them can be winners. Lozo’s prediction for the Canadiens caught my eye, and not necessarily in a good way.
Lozo’s “bold” prediction for the 2014-2015 Canadiens is that Alex Galchenyuk will be a point-per-game player over the next season.
I take umbrage at the idea that Lozo could consider this at all bold. If you’ve watched even a couple Montréal games you know Galchenyuk is a great skater with a good eye for how a situation is going to play out. He’s young, yes. Age will bring experience and improve his game, but he’s already one of the best players on the ice. His selflessness with the puck has created a lot of great opportunities for Montréal and we have those clever passes to look forward to over the upcoming season. It’s evident that Galchenyuk will only continue to improve with a little bit of luck and a lot of work.
Looking at the numbers, they prove that Galchenyuk will be a point-per-game player, no doubt about it.
Galchenyuk averaged 31 points in 65 games over the past season, which was a drop from his rookie season the year before, where he came out scoring left and right, giving him a total of 27 points over 48 games in 2012-2013. To be fair, we haven’t quite had enough time with Galchenyuk to see how he weathers a full season, and with this past season being his longest (in games played) in the NHL he’s most likely still figuring that out himself.
Indeed, his point production over the postseason, where he put up 3 points over 5 games after 14 games missed with a lower body injury indicates that Galchenyuk is on the right track to becoming Montréal’s MVP.
Examining Galchenyuk’s statistics regarding his previous seasons in the OHL, we see that Galchenyuk has always been a point-per-game player, if not better than that.
In the 2010-2011 season in the OHL he earned 83 points over 68 games and almost doubled that over the 2012-2013 OHL season, with 61 points in 31 games. While that tends kind of improvement is often attributed to luck, the scouting reports on Galchenyuk would disagree. Galchenyuk’s skill with the puck and point production is one of the reasons Montréal snapped him up in addition to his size, skating ability and abilities as a two-way center.
Frankly, it would be surprising Galchenyuk hasn’t hit the point-per-game mark already, given his history, but the NHL is a different animal from the OHL or similar leagues. He’s also had a number of injuries that sidelined him for periods of time, but haven’t slowed him down once he hits the ice again.
If Galchenyuk is able to stay healthy over the following season, I’m sure he’ll average a point per game. And if his point production continues to lack I’m sure he can look forward to a season of frustration, limited ice time, and small children booing him on the subway.