Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin met with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher Monday morning and told both players they will be staying in Montreal for the entire season.
Galchenyuk will live with his mother and sister in Montreal, while Gallagher will move in with veteran defenceman Josh Gorges.
Galchenyuk was on what was, in effect, a five-game trial. The Canadiens could have returned him to the junior Sarnia Sting after his fifth NHL game - that would be Tuesday’s home game against Winnipeg – without using up the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract.
But Galchenyuk has shown he can play at the NHL level. He and Gallagher have brought a level of energy and creativity to the third line with Brandon Prust. Galchenyuk has a goal and two assists in four games, while Gallagher has a goal and an assist in three games. Gallagher was likely to stay because his entry-level deal kicked in when he joined the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in the fall.
Galchenyuk was the third overall pick in last June’s draft and said his goal was to make the NHL this season. But there were some doubts that would be possible because the Canadiens traditionally bring young players along slowly and Galchenyuk missed most of last season after major knee surgery. But the lockout helped Galchenyuk because he tore it up with Sarnia in the OHL and then helped Team USA win the gold medal at the world junior championship.
Galchenyuk is the first 18-year-old to play with the Canadiens since defenceman Petr Svoboda in 1984.
(Photo by Dario Ayala/The Gazette)