After a brief call-up at the end of the 2014-15 season in which he played well, Capitals right wing Stanislav Galiev signed a new two-year contract with the expectation of seeing more playing time this past season.
However, Galiev played less than half a season, appearing in only 24 games. In those games, he was not productive, recording only three assists and plus-2 rating. After the Capitals’ acquisitions of forwards Mike Richards and Daniel Winnik midway through the season, Galiev saw even less ice time and did not appear in the playoffs. Although Richards will likely depart in free agency in July, Winnik will be returning and the Caps have emerging young forwards in AHL Hershey such as Riley Barber, Nathan Walker, and possibly Jakub Vrana that could challenge for roster spots next fall. Which puts Galiev’s future in a Capitals sweater into question.
The Capitals would have preferred Galiev get regular ice time with the Bears this past season, but in order to get him there, they would have had to place him on waivers and possibly lose him to another team. Galiev has shown he has the skill to compete in the NHL but the Capitals simply cannot give him that opportunity. Which is why it’s time for the Capitals to consider trading the 24-year old Russian.
Galiev would be attractive to teams looking for a young forward that could provide some offensive punch and speed to their lineup. For rebuilding teams such as the Buffalo Sabres or Edmonton Oilers, Galiev could be added to play a part in their respective rebuilds. The problem is determining Galiev’s worth. He could fetch the Caps a third or fourth-round pick or possibly a prospect in return, but his small sample size of playing time makes determining his value somewhat difficult. His recent AHL production sheds some light on the type of player he could be: in the 2014-15 season, he recorded 25 goals, 20 assists, and 45 points in 67 games played with the Bearssnd finishing as the team leader in goals.
While it may be better for his development if he was traded to a team that could give him ample playing time, it’s entirely possible the Caps hang onto him for another season. Despite his role, he played hard and never complained, giving his all every game he played. If longtime Capital Jason Chimera also departs in free agency, Galiev could get a chance for more ice time. It will be interesting to see how the Caps’ lineup looks come Opening Night 2017.
By Michael Fleetwood