After taking a professional tryout to attend training camp, Alex Galchenyuk has earned himself another chance with the Arizona Coyotes. Late last night Darren Dreger of TSN reported that the Coyotes have signed the enigmatic forward to a one-year, $750K contract for the 2021-22 season. The team officially announced the signing in the early afternoon, releasing this statement from GM Bill Armstong:
We are very pleased to sign Alex. He is a versatile, skilled forward who works hard and has earned a spot on our roster. He will be a good addition to our team.
Galchenyuk, 27, seemed to reinvent himself last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring 12 points in 26 games down the stretch and four more in six playoff games. While he still is frustratingly inconsistent at times, this is a player with more scoring upside than most of the Coyotes’ current roster. Arizona, which is going through another drastic rebuilding phase under Armstrong, look to be going into the season with aging veterans like Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, and Andrew Ladd in the nightly lineup.
Even though he’s making quite a bit less than those players, Galchenyuk offers something they don’t at the offensive end of the rink and should get some looks playing alongside Arizona’s more talented forwards. The last time he played for the Coyotes was the last time he had a strong season, scoring 19 goals and 41 points in 2018-19. If he can even repeat that he would be easily worth the league-minimum salary he earned, and would likely play himself into a trade deadline deal once again.
Whether he can really get his career back on track is completely unclear, but Galchenyuk is still young enough to earn a multi-year deal next offseason if he can prove to be a valuable top-six and powerplay option. There aren’t many spots around the NHL where he would receive a better opportunity at those minutes than in Arizona.