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Galchenyuk gets fresh opportunity with Wild

Minnesota hopes it can unlock offensive potential for one-time 30-goal scorer

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. PAUL -- Any time a trade is made in the NHL, it marks the beginning of a new opportunity for everyone involved. 

For Alex Galchenyuk, a one-time 30-goal scorer, the move to Minnesota marks his latest chance at rediscovering the ability that made him the third overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft. 

After leading the Arizona Coyotes in goals last season, he was one of the pieces dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer in the deal that sent Phil Kessel back to the desert.

For one reason or another, it didn't work out in Pittsburgh ... but with a new lease on life in Minnesota, he'll have another chance to make things work here.

Video: GM Bill Guerin talks Galchenyuk-Zucker trade

"He just wants to come in and play and prove himself," said Wild General Manager Bill Guerin. "He's one of these young kids that came into the league and instantly had a major impact. The last year and a half maybe hasn't gone the way he's wanted it to, but that's our job to help built him back up and resurrect his career and find his scoring touch again. We'll help him out as much as we can and we believe in him and hopefully it works out."

Galchenyuk spent much of this season playing in a third- and fourth-line role with the Penguins, but that won't be the expectation here. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said he will slot right into Jason Zucker's old spot next to Luke Kunin and Mats Zuccarello. 

He could even see some time on the power play. 

"He's really excited to come here. He's gonna play a little more than I think he played in Pittsburgh," Boudreau said. "He's a highly-skilled player, a highly-touted player that hasn't really found his way yet, but he does have a 30-goal season and a 20-goal season, so I think if we give him the opportunity, I think good things will happen for him."

Galchenyuk is coming to a brand new dressing room but he will have one friendly face ready to welcome him to Minnesota. Wild forward Ryan Hartman played minor hockey against Galchenyuk growing up in Chicago, and the two won a gold medal together playing for Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championship. 

Video: Penguins acquire Zucker for Galchenyuk, Addison, pick

"I've seen a lot of him my whole life. He was always one of those standout players," Hartman said. "His skill level was always through the roof. It's great to have a guy like him come in here, with his skill and the talent level that he has."

There will undoubtedly be a period of adjustment for Galchenyuk, who turns 26 on Wednesday, but when he's firing on all cylinders, he has the ability to score in bunches. He scored 20 goals and had 46 points his third season in the NHL after being drafted third by the Montreal Canadiens in 2012.

The following year, he had 30 goals and 56 points. 

In 2017-18, his last season in Montreal, Galchenyuk again topped 50 points, scoring 19 goals and 51 points in 82 games. 

He matched that total last season, his only campaign in Arizona, leading the club in goals and power-play goals before being moved to Pittsburgh in June. 

"The way he gets up the ice and the way he's able to get shots off from different angles, different spots on the ice ... sometimes the pass might not be right on his stick, but he finds a way to get good wood on it," Hartman said. "He is a goal-scorer, and he's had spurts of that throughout his career. He's scored lots of goals and I think a lot of these guys are happy to have him."


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