Why is it either first or fourth line for Alex Galchenyuk?

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin still believes in Alex Galchenyuk, but says he's looking elsewhere for answers instead of taking it upon himself.

Maybe it’s time for the Montreal Canadiens to find some middle ground with Alex Galchenyuk.

The 23-year-old’s relationship with the only NHL team he’s ever played for is a constant source of conversation and the Tape to Tape podcast jumped in on the action by having Montreal-based Andrew Berkshire weigh in.

A frequent contributor of analytics pieces to Sportsnet.ca, Berkshire acknowledged to co-hosts Ryan Dixon and Rory Boylen that Galchenyuk’s play has been less than spectacular. By the same token, he wondered why coach Claude Julien has taken such a binary approach in his treatment of the third overall pick from 2012.

“I think they are right, he hasn’t earned a spot on the top line,” Berkshire said. “At the same time, I don’t understand why the options are first line or fourth line; there are two other lines that aren’t exactly clicking.”

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Tape to Tape
Habs and Sens check in ft Andrew Berkshire
Originally aired October 25 2017

In addition to the Canadiens’ miserable state of affairs, Berkshire and the boys re-visited one of the great recent draft “What ifs?” during a week when the Carolina Hurricanes played the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 2015, the Leafs selected left winger Mitch Marner fourth overall right before the Canes snagged defenceman Noah Hanifin at No. 5. Now, with the forward-rich Leafs in need of blue line help and Carolina boasting a stacked D that outstrips its forward crew, the question is whether both teams would have been better served if the players swapped spots.

While Berkshire is a fan of Hanifin, he’s going with the home run potential.

“I think, just based on his rookie season, Marner has a bit higher of a ceiling,” he said.

Also covered on the pod: how is it the Ottawa Senators continue to thrive despite underlying numbers that indicate the team is due for a tumble? Dixon and Boylen looked at Ottawa’s long-term payroll situation and wondered what kind of raises await Kyle Turris, Mark Stone and Erik Karlsson in the next year or so.

As for the Vegas Golden Knights, their hot start has people re-evaluating what this expansion team is capable of and the boys mused about the possibility of Vegas retaining some key players — like James Neal — as opposed to auctioning them off before the trade deadline in the manner we all originally anticipated.