Alex Galchenyuk is a player who is very likely to land in the top ten of this year's draft. Indeed, there's a chance he will end up being picked up at the five spot to the Toronto Maple Leafs. So, even if Bryan Murray's posse is unlikely to pony up the demanded price for a top ten pick, why not evaluate a player that could quite possibly end up
being anointed as the next coming a short few seasons before being lampooned by both media and fan base, and labeled as a disappointment for failing to live up to the incredibly lofty expectations he was bridled with playing for Toronto?
Galchenyuk has played a familiar role in the lead-up to this year's draft: a player with high-end talent considered to be among the elite of the elite in the next graduating class. Then, a devastating injury. The Russian-American product of the Sarnia Sting tore his ACL. Needless to say, a season-ending injury is damaging to any prospect. A highly skilled physically mature forward like Galchenyuk can go from being a projectable top-line player seen as a sure thing, to a risky proposition, and a player whose future is described with 'ifs' and 'buts'. Added to the yellow flags thrown up for a potentially 'injury prone' player is that other prospects have an opportunity to outperform in that year, elevating themselves above the forgotten and hobbled player. Of course, it can work both ways. Players coming into their draft year end up with more playing time and more responsibility. It is a testament to Galchenyuk's talent and strength as a prospect that he is still ranked in Central Scouting as the fourth overall North American skater.
As this profile of Galchenyuk notes, Igor Larionov has compared the Sarnia Sting forward to Marian Hossa. A fast-skating and strong forward with goal-scoring ability (he notched over thirty in his first OHL season on a talented Sarnia squad), Galchenyuk is a game-breaker. At 6'2, Galchenyuk is a tall center who comes in at 185 pounds. As for the whole "will he bound away to the KHL?!" matter, there is no concern. The Wisconsin native has spent the last two yeras in the OHL-- avoid pigeon-holing the player because of his name and ancestry. All signs point to a productive, top-line role in the NHL, with a combination of goal-scoring and playmaking responsibilities, coupled with two-way ability. By adding pounds to his frame in another OHL campaign, Galchenyuk could effectively foster his large frame into a threatening forechecking presence.
As a Senator:
Bryan Murray and his team have made a habit of picking up on once highly-ranked players whose stock dropped due to injury. Jared Cowen's knee problems allowed his fall to ninth overall. Matthew Puempel, the "purest scorer" in the draft, fell down the board to where Ottawa traded in at 24 after a season-ending hip injury, which was preceded by a concussion. However, Galchenyuk's stock does not seem to likely to drop. Scouts are high on this player, and the ACL tear hasn't done too much to deter that. Still, if the Senators are going to consider moving up, you'd have to think it would be for a high-impact player. Galchenyuk certainly fits that mould, but there's no saying what Murray's group thinks of the player. Maybe he should wait until he's standing on the floor at the Consol Energy Centre before asking Brian Burke what his plans are. And hopefully some television cameras are close by to catch the action.