It was pretty obvious when Max Pacioretty went down for 3-4 weeks after emergency surgery, but Alex Galchenyuk was informed today that he won't be riding buses around Ontario ever again.
It only took 4 games, 1 goal and 2 assists, for the Canadiens to know that Galchenyuk is ready for the show. The third line of Brandon Prust, Galchenyuk, and fellow rookie Brendan Gallagher has been exciting every time they step on the ice, and they've already developed some serious chemistry.
The line is being managed brilliantly by Michel Therrien, Each player getting between 56.3 and 61.1% offensive zone starts at even strength, creating an offensive exploitation line that Therrien uses much more often when the team is up by a goal or two.
This usage means that the line is much more subject to score effects than other lines. As you can see here if you sort by situations, the Canadiens have been solidly in the top 1/3 of the league in Fenwick Tied and Fenwick Close, and absolutely dominant when they get one goal.
However they sit back like crazy when up by two goals, which is normal, but also a big reason why Prust, Galchenyuk, and Gallagher are getting blitzed on possession. Most of their even strength ice time has been after the team is up by 2.
It's difficult to gain much knowledge out of possession stats after just 4 games, but Galchenyuk is actually facing some solid competition, with a positive Corsi Relative Quality of Competition rating of 0.433, higher than David Desharnais.
The Galchenyuk line is getting some unsustainable luck though, with a shooting percentage as a line around 18% at even strength, and a .950 save percentage from Carey Price.
With two rookies on the line though, it's quite possible that they will improve their possession enough during the year that a regression to the mean won't make them look too bad.
For now, the line is exciting, and I'm looking forward to seeing another 44 or more games of Galchenyuk.