Speaking with the media after his trade to the Arizona Coyotes, Alex Galchenyuk reveals that he had requested another shot at the centre position last season:
Alex Galchenyuk says he asked to play centre at the end of the year and Claude Julien said no. I wonder if that was when they were using Paul Byron at centre.— Conor McKenna (@mckennaconor) June 16, 2018
The Montreal Canadiens’ dearth of centre options is well documented, and that lack of depth was truly tested last season, with the rough experiment of Jonathan Drouin at the position to beign the year, an injury to Phillip Danault, and the deadline trade of Tomas Plekanec. Yet the Habs never turned to the player who had played the position before — the one who ultimately finished second on the team in scoring in 2017-18 — to help out in that department, despite trying several wingers with little experience in that role before.
It is an odd decision, especially given that Galchenyuk specifically asked to be used in the position, and a request that could have been granted with no fear of negatively impacting a season that was lost after the first two weeks.
John Chayka, the general manager of the Coyotes, mentioned Galchenyuk’s ability to play the position as a key factor in the transaction.
Alex Galchenyuk on Coyotes GM John Chayka acknowledging his abilities & potential at center: "The second I went on social media & read the comments about me playing center, that’s what I want and I’m excited about it. I’m preparing already for it & I can’t wait to get started."— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) June 16, 2018
It seems the Canadiens’ third overal pick in 2012 will get a fresh start with his new team, and another chance to become the centreman he sees himself becoming.