Alex Galchenyuk, a great project for the Maple Leafs

The American, the third pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Minnesota Wild, the Ottawa Senators and the Carolina Hurricanes – within two days – before landing in Toronto, last week.

This time, he will have time to put down his bags and get comfortable. His new coach, Sheldon Keefe, has no plans to rush his debut in the Maple Leafs uniform.

We don’t want to rush it and immediately insert it into the formation. We want to give him a chance to be successful, summarizes the coach during a virtual press briefing.

Alex Galchenyuk.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick

Alex Galchenyuk took part in his first practice session with regular Maple Leafs players on Tuesday. He’s also working hard with skating specialist Barbara Underhill and former player Nik Antropov, who has become a player skills development consultant.

We think the best thing for Alex is to look to make improvements so that when the opportunity [de jouer] show up, he can be as prepared as possible, this Keefe.

Despite the absence of many players on the attack, Sheldon Keefe does not feel the pressure to insert Galchenyuk in his formation. He believes the team will reap more profit if they are patient with their new weapon.

The right approach

Alex Galchenyuk and Auston Matthews skate together during a Maple Leafs practice.

Alex Galchenyuk (left) reunited with Auston Matthews who he trained with during the offseason in Arizona.

Photo : Twitter/Maple Leafs de Toronto

Boris Dorozhenko, best known for training Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews, also rubbed shoulders with Alex Galchenyuk in the months leading up to the new National Hockey League season. According to him, Toronto does well to advocate patience in his case.

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I think Alex is a guy who still has huge potential, he says. He has the same approach to hockey as Auston.

This fall, Dorozhenko was particularly blown away by the work ethic of the Maple Leafs new take.

I don’t like working with a player who comes to see me for a day or two. Alex was dedicated. He tried, tried and tried again, although he was not always comfortable with the exercises.

The Ukrainian-born coach believes Galchenyuk has produced wherever he has gone. If he gets a lot of playing time in Toronto – and that’s a good thing because coach Sheldon Keefe has a lot to give these days – then he risks making it in Queen City.

He needed to redefine himself a bit after getting injured, but he has the potential to be a good scorer for the Maple Leafs, he says. I’m not one for giving advice to coaches, but if I were his I would give him the chance to show off on the power play as well. It could pay off!

In Toronto, forwards Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds and Zach Hyman, who have all played alongside the Toronto guns on the first power play this season, are still missing. The opportunity is there. It will be up to the former Canadiens to seize it.

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