After penning a one-year deal with the Ottawa Senators, to say Alex Galchenyuk is motivated would be an understatement.
Coming off of a difficult campaign last year that saw him traded from Pittsburgh to Minnesota, the 26-year-old is ready to turn the page with the Sens.
"I'm definitely hungrier than ever," Galchenyuk said. "I went through a really tough year and learned a lot about myself, and about myself as a hockey player, and what I need to do and I'm really confident I fixed those parts of my game and I'm excited to display it."
After playing in the NHL's Return to Play with the Wild, Galchenyuk says that he feels great after the training he's been putting in. He says he's been focused on improving his foot speed, explosiveness and consistency.
Across 59 games with the Penguins and Wild last year, Galchenyuk had 24 points. The 2012 third overall pick scored 30 goals in 2015-16 with Montreal and has crossed the 50-point plateau twice in his career. He's looking to re-capture that form now.
"I'm really focused and motivated for a huge year and really excited for this opportunity and really looking forward to joining my new teammates," he said.
The Milwaukee native said that he had some options on the table but felt that Ottawa provided the best fit. He has previous relationships with Sens goaltender Matt Murray from their days in Pittsburgh as well as d-man Erik Gudbranson. He also knows a number of the Russians on the Sens roster.
Despite being just 26, Galchenyuk wants to bring his experiences to a young Ottawa locker room and be a sponge for the team's younger players when they need a hand.
"I realize how important the older guys are on a team," he said. "Coming from a team like Pittsburgh, how their leaders talk to the younger guys, it was encouraging and inspiring, and that's something I want to bring to the table in Ottawa."
With the past in the rearview mirror, Galchenyuk is ready to once again let his play on the ice do the talking.
"I have a lot to prove. I've been traded a few times. I wasn't happy with how things went last season and I'm looking to bounce back and elevate my game even more.
"I'm excited honestly to stop talking about it all and go out and produce and help the team win."