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Galchenyuk says it's 'surreal' to join Crosby, Malkin with Penguins

Forward acquired from Coyotes excited for new opportunity

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- Alex Galchenyuk was getting himself acclimated to his new surroundings Tuesday, still trying to wrap his mind around being teammates with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Those guys, you look up to before you even get to the League and then you compete against them. Now we're on the same team. It's surreal," the 25-year-old forward said after taking part in his first informal workout at the Penguins' practice facility.

"It's definitely something really exciting and something I was looking forward to, learning from guys like that."

Galchenyuk was acquired, along with defenseman prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph, in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 29. Arizona received forward Phil Kessel, a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and minor league defenseman Dane Birks.

Not long after the trade, Galchenyuk encountered Malkin at a rink in Miami where they both were skating. That led to an impromptu decision to get on the ice together.

"We've never met personally before," Galchenyuk said. "He's definitely a really outgoing, funny guy. So definitely learning about him, and a lot from his game. ... He's definitely a player who's easy to play with."

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Once training camp starts Friday there's a good chance that Galchenyuk will be a skating on a line with Malkin. That is if he's not on a line with Crosby.

"I'm just going to go out there and compete hard, and use my skill," Galchenyuk said of the possibilities.

A first-round pick (No. 3) by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2012 NHL Draft, Galchenyuk was traded to the Coyotes on June 15, 2018 and had 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 72 games last season. It was his lowest total since he had 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 2013-14, his second NHL season.

Galchenyuk is seeking to bounce back this season with the Penguins, who have something to prove too after being swept by the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference First Round last season.

"It's a really competitive team, of course," he said. "There's no secrets about that. Everybody wants to prepare themselves to have a really successful year. I'm sure it's going to be a hard training camp, but that's what you need."

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has played against Galchenyuk the past seven seasons and is excited that they are now teammates.

"We know each other a little bit," Letang said. "I know he's a terrific player. He has great hands, a great shot. He's going to be a big part of our team, for sure."

Like Letang has done in the past, Galchenyuk posted several workout videos on social media since the trade. He's gone through rigorous offseason training previously but decided to ramp it up even more to prepare for this season.

"It's not my first or second year. It's been a couple years now," Galchenyuk said. "So you're always trying to improve on your weaknesses and something you want to do a little bit different. This summer was definitely completely different. Attention to every single detail on your body and same with on the ice."

Tuesday was a first step in getting acclimated to being a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Coming in here and meeting all the guys is great, but the most exciting part is getting on the ice and skating with everybody," Galchenyuk said. "Getting to know everybody and getting used to it. So a little bit of chemistry, and everybody's getting ready for camp."

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