Glendale, AZ. – Forgive us for breaking one of the main rules of sport analysis, but we are judging one of the biggest NHL summer talks just seven months after it was made.
Based on several factors – the age difference between the players involved, the contractual status of both (one will become unrestricted free agent before the other), the money being paid to both and the difference in production between them so far – O agreement that pulled Alex Galchenyuk away from the Montreal Canadiens and brought Max Domi back from the Arizona Coyotes on June 16 is a win for the Canadiens.
Domi, 23, who is in center with Montreal and Galatzyuk, 24, was relegated to the wing after his first 17 games with Arizona, which makes him clean, and we do not see that change over time.
Yes, we consider that Galchenyuk, who has 11 points in 23 games, suffered a training camp injury that required a small procedure and forced him to remain out until the eighth game of the season; that he produced eight points in his first nine games in the center; who is still early in his term with the coyotes; and that Domi, who is producing at an unprecedented rate in his first full year at the NHL's center, could be ready for a course fix.
But none of that changes the fact that Domi, 23, has proven in 35 games – managing 14 goals and 19 assists – which Galchenyuk failed to prove in his six seasons with the Canadiens.
Coyotes general manager John Chayka not only predicted that when he was fired he thought he was getting a player who could help his team more in the center than the one he was giving up.
"Our thesis on this is [Galchenyuk] has the capacity and we think he has natural tendencies that lend themselves to that, "Chayka said shortly after the incident. "We feel, only based on our research and what we have seen, that it has the ability to do this. I do not think we would make this deal if we did not think he had the ability to play downtown. "
We will know for sure if Chayka still feels this way when addressing the media on Thursday. No matter what he says, it will not change our vision.
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We believe that Galchenyuk has an elite kick, elite hands and elite skills, but his attention to detail, or lack thereof, and his level of consciousness without the puck is too short for him to be consistently trusted as a center.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has felt this way and expressed it publicly on numerous occasions over the two years that preceded his decision to finally separate from the third place player in 2012. The former coach of the Canadiens Michel Therrien rose to be eliminated from his position in February 2017. And current Canadiens coach Claude Julien agreed from the day he replaced Therrien to the day Galchenyuk was traded for the Coyotes.
It looks like Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet is now on the same page considering what he said about Galchenyuk on Dec. 1 when he pulled him out of the center after a season that took him to zero and just three assists in 13 games. .
"I think moving to the ward will make your feet move," Tocchet said. When you think of where to go, what is the first thing you do? You slow down, you do not anticipate, you do not react.
"Brad Richardson knows my system and, most of the time, Richie knows where to go and he seems quick because he reacts quickly. Derek Stepan knows my system and knows where to go. As an offensive player, Alex wants to go from A to Z a few times, instead of going through the progression. "
Tocchet's system was not too complicated for Nick Schmaltz to learn quickly after being traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini on November 25.
Schmaltz has since produced three goals and three assists and looked very comfortable without the puck in his nine games at center with Arizona while Galchenyuk, who was injured by another injury that kept him out of three December games, is slowly returning to his game. in the ward.
"I think once [Galchenyuk] begins to get here or there, I think it will start to relax a bit, "said Tocchet after the 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday." Now I'll keep you on the wing, but he can come back [to centre].
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As for Domi, his progression in the midst of the ice changed the Canadiens' appearance to the point where Julien did not think to move it back to the wing for any reason.
"I do not know if the ward was a natural position for him," Julien told reporters a week ago.
Bergevin was a little more cautious in calling Domi from a center less than 24 hours after making his acquisition.
The Canadiens' GM felt confident enough for Domi to stand out in a hockey market to make the deal. He liked the fact that Domi was more than a year younger than Galchenyuk and that he would be under the control of the team as a restricted free agent for another two years. He was happy to give him a two-year contract with an annual $ 2 million cap cheaper than Galchenyuk's. And he felt that there was a bit more untapped potential in Domi – with him taking 222 games in his career, against Galchenyuk coming out with 418 games on his resume.
Bergevin hoped Domi could open a hole in the center temporarily, but he did not expect to find something Domi had been looking for since he took over GM six years ago.
"As a middleman, it's a tough job but Max Low is fast on loose pucks and he competes a lot," Bergevin said on December 8. "He's back and it's a lot of pressure." He wants to win and wants to make a difference. "
All Chayka could say in an email to Sportsnet last week was that Galchenyuk is "A dynamic offensive player with the gunner mentality, which complements our existing core," adding, "We look forward to it growing with our young core of players here. "
What has not been said – Chayka denied several requests (from us and several other reporters from Montreal) to address the issue of viability of Galchenyuk in the center – talks a lot about how trade has worked so far.
That both Chayka and Galchenyuk wanted to wait until the last minute to argue (they are scheduled to speak a few hours before the Canadiens and Coyotes meet for the first game since the trade was made) is revealing itself.
This agreement did not put them as favorably as they expected it to be on the day it was made, and the risk that it will never increase as both players advance in their current positions.