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Galchenyuk eager to prove worth to Canadiens

by Kristen Nelson

Forward Alex Galchenyuk is ready to prove his worth to the Montreal Canadiens.

One day after the Canadiens announced they agreed to terms with Galchenyuk on a two-year contract, the 21-year-old said Friday the short-term deal was his idea and that he was willing to take it and prove he's worth a longer-term commitment.

"It's a simple as going out there on the ice and just prove myself to the team as much as I can and see what happens in two years," Galchenyuk said.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but reported the contract is worth $5.6 million, an average annual value of $2.8 million.

It's up to Montreal coach Michel Therrien whether Galchenyuk plays left wing or center this season. Galchenyuk said he is comfortable playing either.

Galchenyuk has played 193 regular-season games with the Canadiens, including 80 last season when he had NHL career highs of 20 goals, 26 assists and 46 points. The No. 3 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft has 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists) in his career.

"Alex is a young forward constantly improving and who has contributed to the success of the club since joining the NHL three seasons ago," Montreal general manager Mark Bergevin said in a statement Thursday. "Despite his young age, he has gained valuable experience through 193 regular-season games and 22 playoff contests. He shows maturity and fits in well within our young players' development philosophy. Alex is an integral part of our core of forwards and we are confident in his ability to continue to improve his game."

A new member of that group of forwards is Alexander Semin. Galchenyuk said he met Semin in Montreal just before the former Carolina Hurricanes player met with Bergevin to sign his one-year contract last week.

"I would definitely love to play with him," Galchenyuk said. "He's a skilled player and over the years he definitely has shown that he can score a lot of goals (seven 20-goal seasons). I think it would work out well."

The contract came after Galchenyuk switched agents this summer, from Igor Larionov to Pat Brisson. Galchenyuk said his views with Larionov didn't match.

"I wanted to make a change, and I thought Pat would be a better option for me," Galchenyuk said. "Right now I fully support my decision. I'm happy about it."

Changing agents was tough, he said, but after spending three weeks in Russia when he didn't spend much time working on his contract, the talks between Brisson and the Canadiens went well and negotiations were quick upon his return.

Galchenyuk said any reports detailing that his father, who played from 1984 to 2003 in Russia, Germany, Italy and the International and Colonial leagues in North America, was somehow too involved with the deal were laughable.

"I make my own decisions for hockey," he said.

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