Galchenyuk 'hungrier than ever' to prove himself with Senators

Ottawa Senators forward Alex Galchenyuk speaks to the media after signing a one-year deal with the Senators and talks about how much he has to prove but that he's working hard and is hungrier than ever.

Alex Galchenyuk has a new hockey home and is "hungrier than ever" to revive his career with the Ottawa Senators.

"I have a lot to prove to myself, to other people, and it felt like Ottawa was the right fit and I just can't wait to get there and start working," he told reporters during a media availability on Friday, two days after signing a one-year, $1.05-million contract to end his first stint on the UFA open market. "I'm definitely hungrier than ever. Motivated."

Considering how his 2019-20 unfolded, Galchenyuk was due for a fresh start and told reporters he's "feeling great" as he readies himself for the upcoming season -- whenever that may be.

"My body feels great, I feel great. Obviously, there's a lot of time off and I used that time well," he said, listing his foot speed, explosiveness and consistency as his main trouble spots targeted.

"I know what I need to get that, and I went through a really tough year of course and learned a lot," the 26-year-old explained. "Learned a lot about myself ... as a hockey player, and what I need to do. And I'm really confident I fixed those parts of my game and I'm excited to just play."

Galchenyuk's best season came in 2015-16, when he tallied 30 goals and 56 points with the Montreal Canadiens as a promising part of the club's young core at the time. He's reached the 50-point plateau once since -- in 2017-18, his final season with the Montreal Canadiens before being dealt to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Max Domi.

After landing in Pittsburgh to start last season, Galchenyuk failed to live up to expectations -- injuries and lack of chemistry among the factors contributing to his lacklustre play. A trade to the Minnesota Wild brought a fresh start that was quickly cut short due to the pandemic, and a short-lived return-to-play bid this summer ended at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks.

Galchenyuk indicated Friday he's learned from last season.

"I'm so over what happened. Whatever is negative, I left that behind me and I've learned what I felt like I needed to learn from my time in Pittsburgh and even my time in Minnesota and try to bring those experiences I've had to Ottawa," he said.

"Things didn't work out. It was just a tough year and sometimes you need those," he said of 2019-20. "Sometimes you need a year like this to centre yourself ... and to really understand what you want to do, what you want to become, and how you want to play. It was a big moment for me to realize that.

"My head is not even back there anymore to look back and see why this didn't work out, or why this didn't work out. My focus is on how to make it right in Ottawa and being a productive player for the team."

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