MONTREAL - Marc Bergevin thinks Alex Galchenyuk’s lost season will prevent him from making the jump to the National Hockey League this season, but he’ll give the youngster a chance to prove him wrong.
“It will be difficult because he didn’t play much hockey last season, but we’ll see how he does in training camp,” said the Canadiens general manager, who has had director of player development Martin Lapointe and others monitor Galchenyuk’s progress at the U.S. national junior camp in Lake Placid.
Galchenyuk missed most of last season following knee surgery, but has been a standout at the U.S. camp. In fact, Hockey USA officials are worried he won’t be available for the world juniors because they expect him to be in the NHL.
The Canadiens have scouts checking out the Canada-Russia junior series, in which Charles Hudon, the team’s fifth-round pick in June, is playing well.
The Canadiens have a history of bringing youngsters along slowly, but Bergevin said he wasn’t opposed to the idea of having Galchenyuk play some of the 10 NHL games a junior is allowed without burning a year of his entry-level contract.
“We kept Brandon Saad last year in Chicago,” Bergevin said. “He only played two games, but it was a good experience for him.”
Bergevin said the Canadiens are interested in free-agent forward Shane Doan, whose first choice would be to stay in Phoenix. Doan has visited several cities in case the Coyotes’ situation isn’t resolved, but Bergevin said: “If he’s been in Montreal, he hasn’t called me.”
Bergevin said he would find a way to sign Doan if he was interested in playing here, but added he’d be happy with the team he has now. He said he isn’t actively shopping for players and hasn’t received any calls about trades.
“I like our team,” he said. “We haven’t had a healthy Andrei Markov for two years, but he’s here and he’s skating every day and he’s looking good. Having him in the lineup makes us a better team.”
Bergevin said captain Brian Gionta has made a complete recovery from a torn bicep and added he wasn’t concerned that newcomer Brandon Prust had hand surgery in the offseason.
“He’s with us and he’s healthy,” Bergevin said.
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