Many years ago, one Joe Bowen told Leafs fans not to tell him about heart and dedication and resilience. That it was unbelievable. Good ol’ Joe was talking about Mats Sundin tying a game against the Carolina Hurricanes with 28.8 seconds left. But who would’ve thought that he would actually be talking about Alex Galchenyuk.
Let’s do a quick crash course. The Toronto Maple Leafs sent two AHLers to the Hurricanes (ha, irony) for the 2012 third overall pick after clearing waivers. Instead of throwing him right into the lineup as the Coyotes, Penguins, Wild, and Senators did, though there was reason behind the first half, the Leafs organization took their time.
They acknowledged that Galchenyuk’s confidence might be low after joining ANOTHER organization and instead gave him the space to work on his skills and get his mojo back.
For the first time in his professional career, Galchenyuk was sent to the AHL, playing six games with the Toronto Marlies scoring two goals and six assists. And instead of slotting him in the bottom six, the Leafs continued to acknowledge Galchenyuk recognizing that he’ll only succeed if playing with other skilled players and placed him on the left of John Tavares and William Nylander.
That was seven games ago, and it’s safe to say the dedication, resilience and heat displayed by Alex Galchenyuk have paid off.
They call it ‘draft and develop’ for a reason, and although the winger is currently 27, it’s clear there were some nooks and crannies that needed to be filled in.
I know there is some discourse that Galchenyuk is the top-six winger the Leafs wanted. Perhaps with his renaissance on the team, Kyle Dubas won’t need to look to other organizations for an addition. And to that, I say, “sloooooooooooooow down.”
Galchenyuk is a positive surprise but is still a mystery box. However, goaltending may prove to be the more important thing right now. I mean, have we heard anything from that Frederik Andersen appointment?
Either way, I like this new era. I like that second line. And most importantly, I like Alex Galchenyuk.
Score another one for us tonight, Alex. Though if not tonight, definitely get one on Wednesday.
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