Edit Drafted #3 Overall by the Montreal Canadiens.
Today we look at one of the most intriguing prospects in this years draft, the Sarnia Sting’s own Alex Galchenyuk.
Born Feb 12 1994 — Milwaukee, WI
Height 6.02 — Weight 205 — Shoots L
Galchenyuk’s name may sound Russian, but Alex was born in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and is a product of the USA. The son of a former Minor League Pro, and Belarus National Team Member Alexander Galchenyuk Sr., Alex Jr, is truly a citizen of the world. After living his early life in the USA, Galchenyuk has spent time following his father’s hockey career around the globe as it took the family to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Russia. The family finally moved back to the USA where Galchenyuk spent time as a 15 year old playing for the Chicago Young Americans, a U.S. based bantam club. His background may be best described as metropolitan and Alex chose to play for Team USA in the 2011 Ivan Hlinka tournament, and has made a commitment to be a member of USA Hockey’s organization going forward.
Galchenyuk is a big dynamic centre. He’s a very fast skater, has outstanding hands and can stick handle in a phone booth, an excellent wrist shot, good size and grit, and is committed to playing a strong 2 way game. We really can’t say enough about this kid’s hands and stickhandling ability, it is legitimately among the best we’ve ever seen from an 18 year old prospect, his hands are just outstanding. He’s known as a gym rat and is known to show a well above average commitment to his training, and to improving going forward. His dedication will certainly serve him well going forward.
Galchenyuk was expected to challenge his teammate Nail Yakupov and fellow centre Mikhail Grigorenko for the #1 overall draft position when this season began. Unfortunately he suffered a horrific ACL tear in his knee in training camp and was out for almost the whole season. This has meant that NHL scouts have had only very limited views of him and his game and could cause him to slip in the NHL draft.
However we here at last word on sports were able to see Galchenyuk last year, and again in this year’s OHL playoffs when his Sarnia Sting unfortunately lost in 6 games to the Saginaw Spirit. Despite the disappointing results we were very impressed with Galchenyuk. He was dominant and even outshone teammate Nail Yakupov throughout the series. He was at many times the best skater on the ice. His numbers could have been a whole lot better than the 4 pts in 6 games that he produced, but only some very good goaltending by the Spirit goalies kept him off the board. This play should answer any lingering questions about his knee, as it is clear that his speed and agility have not suffered one bit, despite the injury.
The injury and limited games played have made Galchenyuk a real wild card in this draft, and we’ve seen a number of varying ranks from different scouts. However, we believe that there is a legitimate chance that the team that ends up drafting Galchenyuk might just end up with the best player in the 2012 NHL Draft class. We’d compare Galchenyuk maximum potential to that of Chicago Blackhawks’ Centre Jonathan Toews.
And that’s the last word.