Play Him or Trade Him Part 1 – Stan Galiev (Opinion)
Why not just jump right into the fire with a new column? Honestly, is there a player that has everyone more polarized than Stan Galiev? It’s hard to find someone who isn’t on the proverbial fence about where Galiev belongs next season, or this season for that matter. So, here’s a little look at Stan’s rollercoaster ride (pardon the Hershey pun) so far, a little insight from Bryan Helmer, and a peek at the possibilities. In the end, will it be play him or trade him?
As the #86 pick in the 2010 draft, the third round pick by the Capitals found himself splitting time in Hershey and Reading in his first season of professional hockey. Having seen Galiev play both in Hershey and in Reading, it was easy to see that while a little “green” yet for the AHL, his skill set was beyond the ECHL. In 46 games, he registered 23 goals and 24 assists for the Royals and was on the roster for their post-season run as well. A +16 that first season, many expected Galiev to be in Hershey the following season.
But, that 2013-2014 season would be pretty frustrating, a trend that unfortunately for Galiev, would become the new normal. With Mike Haviland taking over for Mark French, Galiev was scratched more often than not in Hershey, playing just 16 games for the Bears and 14 in Reading. A throw-away season? Yeah, there are more of those coming.
Enter Troy Mann in 2014. Galiev spent the entire season as a Bear, appearing in 67 games, scoring 25 goals and 20 assists. Additionally, he played in his first five AHL playoff games, scoring a goal.
That season also saw Galiev earn a recall to Washington and skate in two games for the Capitals where he scored his first NHL goal. The highest of the highs, soon brought the lowest of the lows.
Last season, Galiev looked to be a full-time member of the Capitals, but that meant press box seating for a majority of the games. He suited up for 24 games with the Capitals. During a reconditioning stint in Hershey, he scored three goals in five games, proving to many that he was a little too talented for the AHL. But sitting all of those games took a toll on Galiev and his career.
VP of Hockey Operations, Bryan Helmer agreed. “I think Stan, I think last year not playing a lot hurt him, and I know he’s excited about being here,” he said early in the season. “We’re excited that he is here. He was a big part of our team two years ago. He had a lot of goals, led our team in power play goals. He just hasn’t found his stride yet. With the lack of games last year, it hurts players. I know. I’ve been there. It’s tough. It’s almost like he took a step back in his development, but he’s excited about being here.”
As the 2016-2017 season progressed, Galiev started to return to form, only to be sidelined with an upper body injury in mid-November.
Still, in 33 games this season, he has recorded 15 goals and 11 assists, with three of those goals coming this past weekend and a hat trick on February 3.
With Galiev returning to form yet again, it leads the question – play him or trade him?
As a restricted free agent, a qualifying offer by the Capitals would have a cap hit of around $632,500. With a priority of resigning TJ Oshie (as an example), Washington is going to need guys with lesser contracts to balance it all out. According to Cap Friendly, his contract amounts for .79% of Washington’s Cap hit.
For those who say trade him
The 25-year-old has some upside, but just how much remains to be seen. He’s played a total of 26 NHL games, so it’s unlikely Washington would get a terrific deal for him. So, what do you get in return? Maybe a goalie? Pheonix Copley is out there. Bears fans will certainly remember that name, but is he NHL back-up calibur? Also, how does any of this bode for future Russian players and their willingness to come to Washington?
For those who say play him (you’re probably Hershey fans)
It’s clear that the kid, when healthy and skating regularly in games, can be a factor. Heck, he scored a hat trick earlier this month on the road and then on Friday night, he got two past one of the AHL’s hottest goalies right now, Zane McIntyre. But, if you don’t trade him, you risk another team giving him an offer that the Capitals can’t or don’t want to match, with a very low draft pick to show for it. There is a lot of fight left in this kid and his former coach turned VP of Hockey operations speaks very highly of him.
Helmer said, “He works hard in practice. He works on the little things and that’s how you get yourself back to where you want to be, and obviously he wants to get back to Washington or the NHL, so he’s got a good attitude. He’s a game-changer; he just has to make sure that he’s working not just on the offensive part of their game, but on the defensive part and then the consistency too, he has to work on that and have a good attitude and he’s on the way to doing that and hopefully down the road, he will be in the NHL.”
The final verdict
With Helmer speaking highly of him and his ability to keep fighting back from situations like the lost seasons and injuries, I like the kid’s chances in the NHL. I just don’t know if that will be with the Capitals, and it breaks my heart because this kid is about as amazing off the ice as he’s shown he can be on it. My money’s on a one-year, two-way deal, after all, the Capitals have lots of work to do signing guys at right wing, so why not give him one more shot, put him on the 3rd or 4th line, and see what you get? Why not give the kid one more chance and Play Him? So NoVa Caps readers, what’s your verdict?
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) February 11, 2017