Alex Galchenyuk must prove he's a capable centre in Arizona


Alex Galchenyuk was never given a real chance to play centre with the Montreal Canadiens, now it's time for him to prove he is able to do so with the Arizona Coyotes.

Galchenyuk moved to the desert this off-season after being traded by the Canadiens in a straight swap for Max Domi and now appears to have an opportunity to play down the middle.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the Coyotes opened training camp in Glendale this past Friday, with Galchenyuk playing between Brendan Perlini and Christian Fischer.

Despite being selected third overall in the 2012 NHL Draft, Galchenyuk was never able to cement himself as the team's centre of the future.

However, Galchenyuk has put up good numbers while playing on the wing.

In 418 regular season games with the Canadiens, Galch has 108 goals and 255 total points - solid numbers that should give Coyotes fans plenty of hope for more offence this season.

However, the Wisconsin-born forward had an astonishing -31 plus/minus rating on a very poor Canadiens team last season.

His face-off numbers are also less than stellar, with Galch having success just 45.5% of the time in the circle - winning over 100 draws in just two of his six NHL seasons so far.

One of those seasons, however, Galchenyuk scored 30 goals - only the second time of his career that he has registered above 20.

With the Coyotes, who are seemingly on an upward trajectory after a strong end to the 2017/18 season, Galchenyuk will likely be given plenty of opportunities to prove he belongs in the middle.

Per Daily Faceoff, Galchenyuk projects to be the team's second line centre behind Derek Stepan.

This will alleviate some amount of pressure on Galch, but also giving him plenty of minutes on the ice as a centre - something he has worked towards since day one in the NHL.

The 6-foot-1, 207lbs forward will have plenty of opportunities to contribute offensively, liking seeing plenty of time on the power-play and making the majority of his starts in the offensive zone.

But he will need to show that he is able to compete in the faceoff circle and be a focal point for his linemates to provide for along the wings.

If he steps up and continues to impress head coach Rick Tocchet, there's no reason why Galchenyuk can't make the step up to the first line in the future and be the guy the Coyotes need moving forward.

However, if he struggles, Galchenyuk will find himself pushed back out on to the wing - a role he may have to accept is his future after failing to step up with two different NHL clubs.

But what do you think 'Yotes fans? Will Galchenyuk step up and grab the second line centre role as his own? Or will we see him on the wing by the end of the 2018/19 season?

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