The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph (23rd-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft) from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Phil Kessel, Dane Birks and a 2021 fourth-round draft pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Galchenyuk is signed through the 2019-20 season and his contract carries an average annual value of $4.9 million. Joseph is signed to his entry-level contract which will kick in when he turns pro.
"First and foremost, I want to thank Phil Kessel for his contributions to the Penguins. He was a key component to our success in winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. We couldn't have done it without him, and for that, we are grateful," said Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. "With that being said, we are excited to welcome a young, skilled player in Alex, and add depth to our defense with first-round draft pick Pierre-Olivier Joseph."
The 25-year-old Galchenyuk is coming off of a season in which he recorded 41 points (19G-22A) in 72 games, eclipsing the 40-point plateau for the fifth-consecutive season. He led all Coyotes with 19 goals (tied) and nine power-play goals, while his 41 points were third best on the team.
Prior to his lone season with Arizona in 2018-19, the 6-foot-1 207-pound forward spent the first six years of his career with the Montreal Canadiens, where he tallied 255 points (108G-147A) in 418 games, which includes one 30-goal campaign in 2015-16 and two 50-point seasons in '15-16 and '17-18. During his time in Montreal from 2012-18, only Max Pacioretty recorded more points for the Canadiens.
A veteran of seven seasons, Galchenyuk has 127 goals, 169 assists, and 296 points in 490 career regular-season games. He has also appeared in 28 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with Montreal, where he's picked up 13 points (4G-9A).
Although Galchenyuk was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where his father, Alexander, was playing professional hockey at the time, he spent most his childhood in Europe and Russia and is fluent in both English and Russian. He won a gold medal with the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship, where he recorded eight points (2G-6A) in seven games. That same year, Galchenyuk played for Team USA at the 2013 World Championship where he registered two goals in four games to win a bronze medal.
Galchenyuk was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft which was hosted in Pittsburgh. He spent three seasons with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) from 2010-13, recording a staggering 144 points (58G-86A) in 103 games. He captained Sarnia in his final season with the club, appearing in 33 games where he scored 27 goals and 34 assists before joining Montreal to make his NHL debut during the 2012-13 lockout shortened season that began in January of 2013. Galchenyuk finished his rookie campaign tied for the fifth-most points (27) among all NHL rookies.
Joseph, 19, just completed his fourth year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) split between the Charlottetown Islanders and Drummondville Voltiguers, compiling 47 points (9G-38A) and a plus-36 in 62 games. His 47 points were the 11th-most by a QMJHL defenseman, and his plus-36 was tied for eighth-best among all QMJHL blue-liners.
Drafted by Arizona in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Joseph served as the captain of Charlottetown during the 2017-18 and '18-19 campaigns prior to his mid-season trade to Drummondville, where he helped the Voltigeurs to the Semi-Finals of the QMJHL Playoffs, suiting up for 16 games and leading all team defensemen with nine points (2G-7A).
A native of Laval, Quebec, the 6-foot-2 185-pound defenseman has appeared in 235 career games at the QMJHL level with Charlottetown and Drummondville, scoring 29 goals, 111 assists, 140 points, and a plus-47. Joseph also played in 59 career QMJHL playoff games, where he notched 30 points (5G-25A).
Pierre-Olivier is the brother of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathiew Joseph, who just completed his rookie season in the NHL.