The Montreal Canadiens fans are up in arms. And maybe they should be.
The Canadians sent centre Alex Galchenyuk to the Phoenix Coyotes Friday for left winger Max Domi. It didn’t take Canadiens fans long to react on the team’s fan page.
“My initial reaction is that this is a really bad trade,” wrote one fan. “Galchenyuk is a superior player to Domi, and we, without a doubt, should have gotten more.”
“Terrible trade,” writes another fan.
“The nightmare on Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal continues,” writes another.
Maybe the headline on BarDown said it best: “Canadiens fans are livid after finding out Alex Galchenyuk has been traded”
“Considering Galchenyuk signed a three-year deal with the Habs nearly one year ago and it’s clear the team needs a solidified centre, most Habs fans were completely shocked when they heard the news,” a BarDown reporter wrote.
“Most Canadiens fans don’t believe that Galchenyuk was ever given a fair chance, especially considering he has totalled 50 or more points in two of the past three seasons and has hit the 44-point mark each of the past four years,” the story continued. “Now that he’s going to get a shot with the Yotes has Habs Nation in a very angry state.”
But what will they do? It’s not like Hab fans to initiate a boycott or leave the seats in the Bell Centre empty. Who knows what will happen. What we do know is the Montreal fans are really angry at Canadiens’ manager Marc Bergevin.
“Galchenyuk trade is the last straw for Canadiens fans, reads the headline on the NHL Trade Rumours page.
“I can’t even figure out what was going through Bergevin’s mind when this trade was made,” Canadiens fan Dave Andrews wrote.
“Galchenyuk was a player that was bounced around from position to position and line to line…unable to establish much chemistry with anyone on the team. He proved to be a capable centre during the few attempts they gave him.
“After being allowed to play centre towards the end of the 2016 season, he came alive and produced at an excellent pace. When he was allowed to play as the first line centre during the 2017 season, he maintained an almost a point-per-game pace before suffering a knee injury that had him out for over a month,” Andrews continued. “Despite all of this, Galchenyuk was forced to play on the wing for the majority of his career with Montreal. Now he is sent to Arizona for Max Domi. A player who needs a new contract (pending RFA), has produced at a very average rate (9 goals, 45 points in 82 games last year), and to top it all off, is primarily a winger.
“For many Canadiens fans, myself included, this is the last straw for Marc Bergevin,” Andrews adds. “Fans already wanted him out after the Drouin trade, and now he turns around and throws Galchenyuk away for Max Domi. Can anyone explain how Bergevin still has a job with this team?”
That discussion has been going on for a while now.
On Jan. 7, the headline on a Brendan Kelly story in the Montreal Gazette read: “What the Puck: Time to fire Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin”
Then on Jan. 28, a subheadline on a Francois Lauzon story in the same newspaper read: “To fire or not to fire. That is the question, for Canadiens owner, President and CEO Geoff Molson, on the fate of GM Marc Bergevin”
Those headlines may have been posted many months ago but expect to hear that question again.
As for the statistics, Galchenyuk had 19 goals and 32 assists for 51 points in 82 games this past season. Domi had nine goals and 36 assists for 45 points. Could it be that because he’s the son of former flashy Toronto Maple Leafs player Tie Domi that he drew so much attention from the Canadiens brass? Maybe. Maybe the Canadiens think Domi can sell tickets.
A CBC story last November (as the team suffered through its worst start in history) indicated fan discontent had driven Canadiens’ ticket prices down and even left empty seats, although the seats were still paid for.
Note the headline on that story: “Habs’ on-ice woes translating into empty seats and cheaper tickets
Fan discontent appears to be on rise after Montreal Canadiens had worst start in team’s history this season”
“The Canadiens’ first 10 games saw them get off to their worst start in their history over such a stretch, and entering Saturday’s action they had the third worst record in the Eastern Conference with 19 points from 23 games,” said the story from the CBC’s Morgan Lowrie at the time. “On several occasions, they’ve been booed by their own frustrated fans and TV cameras have panned over large blocks of empty seats.”
The Habs finished with a dismal 29-40-13 record over the regular season and didn’t qualify for the playoffs, so maybe they thought it was time for a few changes.
But then maybe take a look at another key tidbit. Galchenyuk’s salary was $4.9 million last season. Domi made just $3.15 million. Could this trade be more about money than talent?