Canadiens deal Alex Galchenyuk to Coyotes in a one-for-one swap for Max Domi
We have our first major trade of the NHL offseason, and it's a surprising one
The surprising part wasn't the 24-year-old Galchenyuk being shipped out of Montreal, a place where he has struggled to find solid footing and fair usage over the years, but rather the return of Domi.
Domi, 23, was a first-round lottery pick (12th overall) by the Coyotes in 2013 and he burst on the scene with an impressive rookie campaign in 2015-2016, scoring 18 goals and picking up 52 points to earn significant rookie of the year consideration. But the young winger, who is the son of former Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi, has a combined 18 goals in the two seasons since that initial campaign. He hasn't developed into the major building block that the Coyotes were hoping he'd be.
So, Arizona has flipped him for Galchenyuk, a player who has had his own struggles but is a more dynamic player with a higher ceiling. Galchenyuk, who was selected third overall in 2012, has a sweet scoring touch (he's a former 30-goal scorer) and could thrive with his new situation in Arizona. The Coyotes will likely give him more of a chance to play center and develop his all-around game.
If nothing else, this is a one-for-one deal that gives both players a change of scenery that could benefit them both. But, again, it's hard not to feel like there's a significant chance the Canadiens gave up the player with more rungs on his ladder.
Domi, who was set to become a restricted free agent this summer, inked a new two-year contract worth $3.15 million annually with the Canadiens on Saturday. Montreal has to be hoping that he'll bring a potent mix of scoring and sandpaper to the Habs, a team that desperately needs new life on offense. The Canadiens finished 29th in the league in goal scoring last season.
This will likely be just the first shoe to drop in Montreal this offseason, as they still need serious help down the middle and on defense. One name that has been floated in trade speculation is captain Max Pacioretty, who could be on the move next. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin certainly hasn't been afraid to take chances on blockbuster trades over the past few years -- he dealt P.K. Subban for Shea Weber, then Mikhail Sergachev for Jonathan Drouin -- but they haven't led the team in the direction that he has hoped.
He better hope this one (and whatever ones follow it) turn into wins, or they may be some of the last he makes in Montreal.
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