Sports Maple Leafs' Alex Galchenyuk Got Help From Auston Matthews in the Offseason
Matt Larkin's Mid-Season Top 250 Fantasy Hockey Players For 2020-21
It's time for the stretch run in your hockey pool. Prepare for the tough lineup decisions ahead with these rest-of-season rankings, blended to include forwards, defensemen and goalies. © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Welcome to my mid-season update of the Top 250 fantasy hockey player rankings for 2020-21. Hopefully, as you read the list, you’re still in your playoff hunt. Pools have been Russian roulette this season, especially during that first month, when you spun the wheel and hoped players’ teams didn’t get shut down due to COVID-19.
After his first multi-point game in over a year, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alex Galchenyuk shared some details about his private off-season workout with Auston Matthews back in December.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alex Galchenyuk met Auston Matthews back in December as the two skated in a private session that included Galchenyuk's father, Alex Sr., and Boris Dorozhenko, the ice hockey coach credited for much of Matthews' development.
Two months later, Galchenyuk and Matthews became teammates.
"It's funny how things work out," Galchenyuk said. "When I got traded (to Toronto) he texted me right away and we spoke about it, it was a funny moment."
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Another month passed before Galchenyuk and Matthews skated in a game together. The work that the No. 3 pick from the 2012 NHL Draft has put in with the Toronto Maple Leafs' development staff has paid off.
"He's really passionate about hockey, he works extremely hard, he cares a lot and he's played great in the few games he's been with us," Matthews said of Galchenyuk.
Matthews' scored the winner in the team's 4-3 overtime comeback against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Before the game, head coach Sheldon Keefe stressed that Galchenyuk was not demoted from the second line.
"There's nothing against what he's brought to that line, but I have wanted to get Wayne (Simmonds) in the space," Keefe said.
Galchenyuk Sparks Comeback and Hutchinson Supports Maple Leafs in Win Against Flames
Alex Galchenyuk's first goal as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs erased a lead for the Calgary Flames and Michael Hutchinson kept his team from imploding in a 4-2 victory. CALGARY -- Before the Toronto Maple Leafs played their last game, Alex Galchenyuk was asked if he was anxious to score his first goal with the club."Sooner or later, it's going to go in," he said. "I just have to keep working hard."With his team struggling to generate scoring chances and down a goal to the Calgary Flames, Galchenyuk parked himself in front of the net and freed himself from defenseman Noah Hanifin's grasp.
With Toronto trailing 3-1 to Edmonton after 40 minutes, Keefe put Galchenyuk back up with John Tavares and William Nylander and the adjustment paid off.
First came Galchenyuk's between-the-legs pass to Tavares in the slot that led to a goal and cut Edmonton's lead to 3-2 at 12:21. Then he centered a pass from behind the net that went off Justin Holl before William Nylander scored to tie the game 3-3 at 16:38.
"He's highly talented; obviously he was drafted really high for a reason," Tavares said of Galchenyuk. "He makes great plays quickly."
Not only did Galchenyuk help his team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but his presence was the catalyst to helping a line in need of an offensive boost.
Tavares had just two even-strength goals in his last 15 games before his tally on Saturday. Nylander had two goals in his last nine games.
Galchenyuk helped in getting two of Toronto's top producers scoring again.
Trade-deadline primer: Toronto Maple Leafs
After bringing in some experience and character in the offseason, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been the unquestioned leader of the North Division for most of the season. They now sit seven points clear of the second place Winnipeg Jets, meaning if there was ever a year for GM Kyle Dubas to push his chips to the middle, this might be it. Dubas himself has admitted that the team’s cap situation may lend itself to going after a rental instead of a player with term this year, meaning nearly everyone on an expiring contract could be a target for the Maple Leafs.
"I'm definitely happy with progress I'm making and definitely happy to contribute," Galchenyuk said.
It was Galchenyuk's first multi-point game in the NHL since Mar. 8, 2020. Then a member of the Minnesota Wild, Galchenyuk scored a goal and added an assist in a 5-4 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks. The game ended up being the team's last regular season game before the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.
After a disappointing qualifying-round exit against the Vancouver Canucks, Galchenyuk signed a one-year deal worth $1.05 million with the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 28, 19 days after the free-agent window had opened.
With one goal in eight games, Galchenyuk was traded along with forward Cedric Paquette to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Ryan Dzingel.
It was evident that Galchenyuk was a throw-in as part of the deal, as he was placed on waivers the following day. The Leafs acquired him after he had cleared in exchange for forward prospect Egor Korshkov and defenseman David Warsofsky.
It's worked out well for Toronto, who acquired a highly-skilled forward at a minimal cost.
Veteran forwards Kyle Turris, Paul Byron put on waivers
Once reliable scoring options, Byron and Turris have seen their stocks fall dramatically the past few seasons.For Bishop and the Senators, this is a simple move to regain the roster flexibility they have had for most of the season. After clearing waivers before the season began, Bishop was able to move freely between the active roster and taxi squad depending on need, saving the Senators some cash on off days. His exempt status expired earlier this month, meaning he needed to clear again to be assigned to the taxi squad. With just three points in 12 games, Bishop is likely to clear again.
"You can't ignore Galchenyuk's contribution to both those goals," Keefe said.
The Leafs have shuffled up their forward lines for the last few weeks as they try to find the right balance. It appears as though Galchenyuk has reclaimed his spot with Tavares and Nylander for quite some time.
He reclaimed the league lead in goals with 22. His goal in overtime came when his centering pass deflected off two Oilers and into the net.
"Not really how I drew it up, I'm gonna take that for sure, Matthews said. "It's frustrating when the puck is not going on but I think for myself, I'm getting chances. I just tried to stay positive."
Matthews snapped a five-game goalless drought.
The other lines
Other adjustments in the third period saw Zach Hyman move up to the top-line left wing spot with Matthews and Mitch Marner.
Joe Thornton moved down to skate with Alex Kerfoot and Jason Spezza, a line that played together for the last couple of games.
Simmonds finished the night with Pierre Engvall (he scored the first goal of the game) and Ilya Mikheyev.
Campbell remains perfect this season
Statistically, it was a great game for Jack Campbell, but the goaltender helped keep his team in it and he improved to 6-0-0 this season.
"I'm not gonna sugarcoat it, I just didn't have it tonight. Didn't like my game one bit," Campbell said. "What a really great team does is they pick guys up and they picked me up tonight and I'm really, really proud of the boys."
Apart from Darnell Nurse's goal that made it 1-1 in the second period, it was hard to fault Campbell for the other goals. He finished the night with 16 saves on 19 shots.
Power Play woes
The Leafs went 0-for-2 on the power-play and are now just 1-for-22 in their last ten games.
Despite coming up short, his coach liked the chances they had
"I think if it looks like that consistently, I think we would more than happy with that," Keefe said.
Boston Bruins to acquire Taylor Hall .
Hall had just two goals in 37 goals for the Sabres this season.Hall had full control of this process, considering he held a no-movement clause and could block a trade to any team in the league. He decided to waive that clause to go to Boston. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period notes that the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals were also in the running earlier Sunday. The fact that the Sabres were unable to secure a first-round pick for Hall will be the takeaway for Buffalo fans, but he is in the midst of a brutal season.