Rumors have run rampant all offseason with the Columbus Blue Jackets attached to any young center that is allegedly on the trading block.
Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene is one of the more obvious names but Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk should be included as well.
Galchenyuk recently avoided arbitration and agreed to a three-year deal worth $4.9 million annually. The contract doesn't include a no-move clause or a no-trade clause. Additionally, the contract will take him to unrestricted free agency.
For a team that should be valuing a young asset, Galchenyuk is being left to float aimlessly.
It is very easy to see how much of a trade chip they have turned him into in a short period of time.
He is young, full of potential and can play multiple positions. Why the Canadiens have soured on him so quickly remains the question.
The team obviously wants to see more from him after playing in 61 games during the 2016-17 campaign and putting up 44 points. Over the course of a full season that puts him around 60 points. Those numbers put him firmly in the top-six of any team in the league.
Defensively, his shot differential numbers hover around 50% for his career at even strength and for a possible number one center, teams want domination.
Galchenyuk needs to prove his worth and he needs to show that he is consistently the player that the Canadiens want him to be. Otherwise, the Canadiens have given themselves enough flexibility that they can jettison him out of town. The contract dares Galchenyuk to prove them wrong, it is as much a motivational tool as it is a cap management strategy.
Taking advantage of poor situational fits helps many teams. The Blue Jackets are normally selling their assets due to poor perceived fits. Galchenyuk helps flip that script.
Risk is more than just a board game after all.