So the first big trade of the offseason has finally happened, queue the long wait for the next one.
Late last night the Montreal Canadiens and Alex Galchenyuk finally parted company after what seems an entire career of trade rumours, while the Arizona Coyotes parted ways with Max Domi with the son of former NHLer Tie Domi about to become a restricted free agent at the end of his entry level deal.
There was nothing more to add to the trade, no picks, no conditions, just a straight up Alex Galchenyuk and Max Domi player for player trade.
It’s way too early to see who “wins” this trade. To determine who won a trade takes years to find out, you can say who you think will win the trade, but it all comes down to how the future pans out.
Galchenyuk has been a part of the Canadiens since 2012, and while he’s not a superstar he’s also not a bust. But let’s be honest, if that 2012 NHL Draft could be redone, it would look a lot different, Nail Yakupov going first overall…yikes.
Galchenyuk may look like a grizzled veteran with 418 games under his belt, but he’s still just 24-years-old. The ceiling is higher on Galchenyuk than it is with Domi, so the change in scenery could net the Coyotes a healthy return. In a less pressured market,
The centre experiment never really worked for Galchenyuk in Montreal, but they could have a bit more success trying Domi out in that position.
Domi had his struggles in Arizona in the final year of his Entry Level Contract, and there were rumours a trade to Pittsburgh was on the cards, but now he’ll be taking his talents to Montreal.
He’s also coming to the end of his Entry Level Contract so a new deal is expected to be announced shortly before he becomes an RFA on July 1st.
If the Canadiens do want to utilise Domi at centre they would probably would have a bit more success than Galchenyuk, who they seemed to give up on down the middle at least last season.
In 2017-18, Domi took 412 draws and won 44% of them, but he seemed to work better back out on the wing than at centre. Perhaps this deal then means that the Canadiens are happy to get Domi in as a physical winger who can grind down in the corners and also put up a sample size of points, and maybe this means they’re going to be one of the more aggressive teams this off season, even at the draft next week.
Elliote Freidman of HNiC spoke on Sportsnet about the deal saying “I do think that Montreal is looking for centres first and foremost, and I do think that they’ll probably give Domi a chance to play there.
“I also wonder if this means it’s likely they’re taking the Finnish centre (Jesperi Kotkaniemi) next week in the draft.”
Most analysts have Czech winger Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads going third overall to the Habs, but in a draft that has very limited high end centre’s available, perhaps the Canadiens are willing to mix things up and take Kotkaniemi third overall or even trade down to get an upgrade now, and get Kotkaniemi at a later pick if he’s of interest to them.
To see how this pans out for Montreal depends on what they’re actually up to. Marc Bergevin may have a lot of tricks up his sleeve to try and turn his teams fortunes around, at least you’d hope he does for the sake of his job (or hope he doesn’t for the sake of his job depending on your position on the Habs GM.)
For Arizona, this deal looks like nothing more than good business.
They aren’t a contender and aren’t looking like they’ll be one in the next couple of seasons, but they do have some high end talent they can nurture and build around.
Galchenyuk carries a $4.9 mil cap hit until the end of the 2019-20 season, then he’ll become a UFA. So this does buy the Coyotes some time to bring him in and see if he fits in with their plans going forward before committing to him long term.
Coyotes GM John Chayka seems to be quite high on his new player saying “He’s had success playing the centre position, I don’t think we’d make this trade if we didn’t think he had the ability to play centre.”
Chayka also commented further on Galchenyuk, stating that he’s “another elite young player to our core group.”
Galchenyuk joins a centre group that has the likes of Derek Stepan and Marcus Kruger, so it’s likely that he’ll pick up top six minutes this year, and with some of the teams young guns like Clayton Keller, Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak continuing to pave their way in the NHL, you’d be forgiven to think that the Coyotes may be on the rise right now.
After reportedly locking up future captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson for eight years (the deal hasn’t been made official yet) the Coyotes are committing to youth with Galchenyuk coming in, it’s just a matter of finding the rest of the pieces to the puzzle before they start making their way closer to the playoffs, somewhere they haven’t been since 2012, the year Alex Galchenyuk was drafted.
Overall though, the deal looks like the start of many for the Canadiens (At least you’d hope that’s what it means) and Galchenyuk moving out of Montreal could see him blossom in a similar way Lars Eller did in Washington, becoming one of the most reliable guys on the team.
Only time will tell, but it’s looking good for the Coyotes right now.
UPDATE: Shortly after publishing, the Montreal Canadiens signed Max Domi to a two-year, $6.3 million contract.