Alex Galchenyuk seems to be the focal point for the roster transformation that Marc Bergevin needs to continue in order to improve his Montreal Canadiens headed into 2017-18.
Jonathan Drouin was acquired by the general manager from the Tampa Bay Lighting last week, but there are still pressing needs for this club.
“I think they’ve got to address their issues at center ice,” noted NHL Insider Darren Dreger during a Monday afternoon appearance on Toronto’s TSN 1050. “I don’t know that they’ve done that with Jonathan Drouin, although some believe that he may be a centerman. In fact, someone close to him described him as a natural center. But when I asked Bergevin about that, he said, ‘Time will tell.’ So that means they’re going to be patient. They’re just more interested in the scoring threat that he brings period.
“And they need some help on defense. So there’s two pretty big pieces. A centerman and a defenseman. How do you go out and acquire that player. I mean, much of the speculation has been based around Alex Galchenyuk. Those who have expressed interest in Galchenyuk say that Bergevin, in fact, does want multiple pieces. That could explain why that transaction hasn’t happened to this point. But not saying he won’t get it. A lot of things can happen between now and the weekend. Certainly there’s an appetite for that on Friday in the first round on the draft floor in Chicago.
“But there’s a lot of work to be done. Bergevin has done some good things. But he’s got a lot more work to do.”
Galchenyuk is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, and Dreger did have a brief note on contract talks with the Canadiens.
“Have they had dialog in the last day or two? I don’t know that,” indicated the Insider. “But I can tell you that on Friday/Saturday there was at least a hint that they had had conversation very recently – so last week perhaps – on the possibility of extending Galchenyuk.
“And beyond the extension – of course they could extend him, and it could be a sign-and-trade. I mean, there’s nothing preventing the Montreal Canadiens from extending him and then moving him. But what is that number? Is he going to get upwards of 5, 5.5. That’s going to be the tricky part.”
Galchenyuk’s cap hit on his expiring contract is $2.8 million, and his salary in the 2016-17 portion of that pact is $3.1 million.