DENVER — The Avalanche agreed to contract terms Monday with veteran forward Alex Galchenyuk for the remainder of this season.
Galchenyuk, 28, has appeared in 643 career NHL games between six teams: Canadiens, Coyotes, Maple Leafs, Penguins, Senators and Wild. The No. 3 overall NHL pick of the 2012 NHL draft joins the roster after seven productive games (three goals and four assists) for the AHL Colorado Eagles.
Galchenyuk was notified of his call up Sunday.
“A quick turnaround,” Galchenyuk said Monday from the Avalanche training facility. “Just pumped. That was the plan coming along. I’m just happy to be here. Can’t wait to be on the ice and get things going.”
His reported league-minimum contract ($750,000) provides new life for the Wisconsin native's career. Galchenyuk’s NHL career peaked in 2015-16 with Montreal; 30 goals and 26 assists. Can he replicate similar production with the defending Stanley Cup champions?
“He’s been doing a great job (in the AHL). Scoring and impacting the game on the offensive side of things, which we could use a little bit of that right now,” coach Jared Bednar said Monday after practice. “He’s an experienced guy that can provide power-play time. A good shooter. Really good on the defensive of things working on that part of his game.
“It makes sense.”
Galchenyuk is expected to join the third line to begin Colorado’s four-game road trip Wednesday at Winnipeg. The Avalanche are taking a wait-and-see approach to determine if he’ll slot in at wing or center.
Bednar said: “I haven’t seen him play enough.”
Galchenyuk is established as an elite offensive player. But his defensive consistency will ultimately determine his Avs role.
A wave of forward injuries is testing the quality of their depth. Martin Kaut (illness) will also be unavailable at the Jets. He will be replaced in the lineup by forward Jean-Luc Foudy — a 2020 third-round draft choice — for Foudy's NHL debut.
“We’re looking for guys who can make an impact on both sides of the puck right now,” Bednar said. “We’re running thin. Obviously, having the experience and being a guy who has played in the league helps. But we’ve had some guys come up and play real well for us, too. … If (Galchenyuk) earns ice time, we have it and can provide it, then he’ll get it.”
Avalanche forward Jayson Megna knows Galchenyuk well after spending several offseasons training together in Florida.
“A very skilled player who works extremely hard,” Megna said. “I’m definitely excited. He’s played that many games in the NHL for a reason.”
Galchenyuk had a strong Avalanche training camp on a professional tryout contract but suffered an injury that prevented him from being signed. He later rejoined the club on another PTO contract with a plan from the Eagles. Galchenyuk said: “(Improve) my responsibility without the puck and my awareness on the defensive side of the game. At the same time, be myself and compete. Go out there and be the best that I can be.”
His Avalanche debut is on the horizon. He is grateful for the call up.
“Even before the injury, giving me an opportunity was a big boost. Something that you appreciate. You get a call from a Stanley Cup champion team,” Galchenyuk said. “I had a positive start to camp. Tough (injury) timing. But at the same time, I felt I left a pretty good mark. I’m glad that the door was still open.”