Why the Canadiens should gamble on Capitals' Galiev at deadline
The topic of conversation? Stanislav Galiev, the skillful winger who seems to be nearing the end of his tenure in Washington.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is ready to move the 2010 third-round pick, according to The Washington Post, not because he thinks Galiev isn't worthy of a shot in the big leagues, but because the team simply has a deep NHL roster and too many young forwards clawing for spots.
Putting up points
Galiev has done enough to prove he could be of use to a club in need of an offensive boost if given a decent shot. The 25-year-old has 17 goals and 28 points through 34 appearances in the AHL this season, but he also boasts a notable resume of production dating back to his days in junior hockey.
The Russian winger showed plenty of promise early in his career while suiting up for the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs (alongside current Habs' defender Nathan Beaulieu). Galiev posted 60 points in 67 games in his first go-round with the club, before exploding for 37 goals and 65 points in just 64 contests one year later, his best offensive showing thus far.
He's bounced around between the ECHL and AHL since then. His finest effort in each league: 47 points in 46 games with the ECHL's Reading Royals in 2012-13, and 45 points through 67 appearances for the AHL's Hershey Bears in 2014-15.
Dotted throughout that timeline is a history of winning. The Moscow native has lifted five championship trophies up to this point, racking up a Memorial Cup, an ECHL championship, two QMJHL championships, and a USHL championship.
And he wasn't simply along for the ride during those runs either. Galiev amassed 34 goals and 80 points in 57 playoff contests in the QMJHL, and scored at a point-per-game pace during the ECHL playoffs as well.
(Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports)
Bringing it in the big leagues
Does this resume guarantee the talented winger can succeed at the NHL level? Of course not, but it should give teams in need of an offensive spark enough reason to roll the dice - especially in a situation such as this, wherein MacLellan seems resigned to simply let Galiev go so that the forward can play.
The Capitals kept Galiev on their roster throughout the entirety of 2015-16 to avoid losing him in the waiver process, though he only managed to break into the club's well-stocked lineup 24 times. He posted just three points in those appearances, though he wasn't given much of a shot, his ice-time limited to fewer than 10 minutes per game.
Galiev is far from a sure thing, but his talent is promising enough that Washington held on to him as long as they could, and seem willing to part with him simply to avoid stalling his development. With a bigger role, he could thrive.
Meshing in Montreal
The Canadiens' offensive woes have been well-documented. Despite boasting a few marquee stars on the roster, they've scored the fewest goals in the league over the past month.
Acquiring Galiev likely won't require much of a sacrifice in terms of assets going the other way, nor would the 25-year-old put much of a strain on Montreal's salary situation - he carries a $575,000 cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Bring him in, give him a shot, and see if something clicks. It's fair to assume Galiev is hungry for an opportunity to showcase his skill after being shelved for much of last season, and at this point, the Canadiens could use any help they can get.
His countryman Alexander Radulov has already helped bring a different flavor to the Canadiens' offense this season, and the veteran could potentially play a key role in helping Galiev's transition as well.
Buying big remains an option for general manager Marc Bergevin, but if the club opts for a more subtle addition, Galiev might just be a worthy gamble.