In case you missed it, there is a lot of smoke around the Rangers and the Canadiens lately. Glen Sather and some of his cronies were taking in Montreal/Ottawa last night, and Steve Zipay tweeted that at least half of that crew were in Montreal when the Rangers were in town. Add in a lot of talk about Alex Galchenyuk, and there’s a lot of smoke around the Rangers and Canadiens.
Galchenyuk fits an immediate need for the Rangers. He’s a talented top-six center that can put up points. The former third overall pick is supremely talented, but the Montreal media has done a number on him. They made him apologize for being a victim of domestic abuse. They released private information about rehab. They’ve basically done all they can to chase him out of town. So naturally, the fans have turned on him.
Never mind that he put up 30 goals just two seasons ago. Never mind that he’s increased his points-per-game total every year since his rookie year. The media doesn’t like him, so they want him gone. Montreal has a habit of getting rid of players for the wrong reasons, so this shouldn’t shock anyone (see: Subban, P.K.).
Here’s how he compares to the recently traded Derek Stepan. Galchenyuk puts up more goals and fewer assists, that makes sense to anyone who has watched them. Galchenyuk also does a better job at driving offense. He’s pretty poor at suppressing shots, though, so there’s that.
Galchenyuk fits the mold of young, cost controlled, and speedy/creative that the Rangers want their forwards to be. He also pushes David Desharnais back to the fourth line where he belongs, and off the powerplay. All of a sudden you’re looking at Zibanejad-Galchenyuk-Hayes-Nieves down the middle, with Desharnais filling in when needed. Seems much better than what they have now.
If you’re worried about where Filip Chytil/Lias Andersson fit in next season, then there’s always the possibility of sliding some of these guys to wing. Center to wing is an easier transition for a kid to make, fewer responsibilities in the defensive end. A glut of young talent is better than a dearth of young talent. Plus none of them are guaranteed.
This is pure speculation on my part, but the logic seems to fit. The Rangers need a center. The Habs apparently “need” to trade Galchenyuk. Both teams need to do something to stay relevant.
Assume one roster player, likely a defenseman, needs to go the other way to make the salaries work. No, it’s not going to be Marc Staal. Assume Nick Holden. Sending him there and waiving Paul Carey clears the cap space to bring on Galchenyuk. But that’s not enough. The Rangers will need to part with a good prospect or a pick. I have no idea what the Habs are looking for. Fans say defensemen. Maybe Ryan Graves? I don’t know.
Trading Chris Kreider for Galchenyuk is just silly. It leaves the Rangers with a different problem. They’d just fill the 2C role and open a 1/2 LW hole. It would be the same problem they had following the Stepan trade.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It certainly seems like something is brewing between the Rangers and the Canadiens. Naturally, both fan bases are panicking. It might be an interesting week. Buckle up, folks.