No player wants to see their year end in April, and unfortunately, that’s the reality the Montreal Canadiens faced as they met with media for the last time.
The end of the year player scrums for the Montreal Canadiens started with Alex Galchenyuk. It was a difficult season for the 2012 first-round pick, but one that ended with more positivity than last year’s. Galchenyuk wasn’t able to match or exceed his career high in points similar to that of Brendan Gallagher, but his overall play this season has taken a big step.
According to John Lu, the idea of the 24-year-old returning to centre wasn’t brought up in his exit meetings with Claude Julien and Marc Bergevin. Not really a surprise seeing as how it looks like they were trying to keep that topic away from the core discussion. Will that be a buzzing feed at the start of next season? You bet it will. Especially when you consider the progress Galchenyuk has made in gaining Julien’s trust.
Galchenyuk also commented on his status for the World Hockey Championships which he revealed he wouldn’t be taking part in. That makes four Montreal Canadiens players so far who have decided not to go including Gallagher, Carey Price, and Jeff Petry.
Noah Juulsen had some positive things to say as well after making his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens. The 2015 first-round pick quickly proved why the idea of him making the team out of training camp wasn’t as crazy as many believed. His skating, poise, and willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of the team was on display, and he’s made a strong foundation for himself to crack the opening lineup next season.
Juulsen also praised Karl Alzner for the mentorship as they were paired together for the majority of his stint with the Habs. It was a two-way street of benefit as Alzner looked better playing with the rookie defenceman than he did with Petry.
The spiritual team captain had some heavy but beneficial thoughts to share. Most importantly, Gallagher is optimistic about the future of the team and trusts that management will make the right decisions. Again, Marc Bergevin, are you listening?
This isn’t to say that Gallagher’s comment was a direct address to the bodies upstairs, but it does coincide with their hopes for the offseason. Everyone wants to be the next Colorado Avalanche who go from the bottom of the barrel to a playoff spot. The Montreal Canadiens can’t afford to rely on bounce-back performances from some of the other players.
The 25-year-old also told media that he’s been playing hurt for sometime. Fortunately, it won’t require surgery, but the time off is needed. All that news does is further enforce how special of a player Gallagher has been for the Montreal Canadiens.
Health is another thing the Montreal Canadiens will need so hearing that from Danult is incredible news. The next people in the organization to hear from are Bergevin and Geoff Molson. It’ll most likely by your everyday responses, but maybe we’ll get surprised.