This draft profile is on Alex Galchenyuk, center for the Sarnia Sting. Selected 1st overall in the OHL draft in 2010, for a long time Galchenyuk was considered the top prospect in this year's draft class. Combining the skill of Nail Yakupov with the playmaking ability and hockey sense of Mikhail Grigorenko, Galchenyuk could very well become the best player from this draft. His torn ACL, suffered just two games into the season, could see him slide a bit -- but not out of the top five.
Center / Sarnia Sting - OHL
February 12 1994
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
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Final CSS North American Rank: 4th
Future Considerations: 2nd
Hockey Prospectus: 3rd
The Scouting Report: 3rd
At this time last year, there were three forwards who people in the industry thought had a chance to go first overall: Mikhail Grigorenko, Nail Yakupov, and Alex Galchenyuk. Grigorenko has the work ethic question mark but the highest upside, Yakupov has the scoring track record and a more explosive style of play but his possession skill set isn't as high end, and Galchenyuk brings a good median between the two which is why some NHL sources thought he had a great chance to go number one overall before tearing his [Editor: correction] ACL. Prior to the knee injury, Galchenyuk's skating showed anywhere from above-average to plus with significant improvement over the last year or two. His top speed is impressive and can certainly back defensemen up. With a major knee surgery lingering over him, though, what was once a strength of his game may be in question, but when he came back at the end of the season there seemed to be no lingering effects in that area. Galchenyuk's true strengths lie in his puck skills, vision, and overall possession ability. He's a very talented playmaker who has a pass-first mentality, thinks the game at a high level, and his decisions require little processing time. He's very coordinated in tight, showing plus puck skills and great creativity. While he can do great things in open ice, he's also dangerous on the cycle with a big body and a good physical work ethic that makes it very hard for opponents to strip possession from him. Galchenyuk is a very hard worker who shows commitment at the defensive end of the rink, and outside of the knee injury, he has no aspect about his profile that you cannot praise.
Career Projection - First line (#1) Center - Galchenyuk is smart, big, talented, and he can skate. He is good in all aspects of the game and there really isn't much he isn't capable of doing. Given his size, smarts and skill he projects to be a very good first line center in the NHL for a long, long time. Had he been healthy the entire season, or even half, he would be a legitimate candidate to be drafted with the 1st overall pick.
In full form, Galchenyuk is a dynamic offensive forward who can flat out produce. He is often a very deceptive player and lurks around the ice, always seeming to be around the puck. Galchenyuk has great hands and an even better shot with a pro-calibre release and pin-point accuracy. If he can continue to improve his skating, his style is somewhat comparable to Evgeni Malkin. While Galchneyuk iis still raw in some regards, his ceiling likely is higher than any other player in this draft.
Alex Galchenyuk started the 2012 season sitting on top of most rankings lists, including the ISS rankings, before a torn ACL derailed his season and limited him to just eight games overall in 2011-12. He was the top pick in the 2010 OHL draft and as a 16-year old in the OHL he absolutely set the hockey world on fire, an incredible blend of size, skill and speed that is unrivaled by others in his draft class.
The torn ACL is a concern, however, especially since speed and skating is such a big part of his game and regarded as perhaps his lone weak point before the injury. He appeared relatively back to normal for the six games in the playoffs, scoring two goals and registering two assists, but it's apparent that there is still some concern over just how much that injury may affect him moving forward. Essentially, teams are basing such a high pick on just one season two years ago -- although there should be no doubt that Galchenyuk possesses incredible talent.
Galchenyuk is one of those players that seems to have limitless potential and could become one of the top five players in the NHL in just a few years' time, although there is some concern that his raw talent isn't as polished as some others players coming into the draft. Whichever team has him fall into their laps, however, will be leaping with joy at the ability to pick a #1 talent at #3 or #4.
Do the Stars have a chance at the best center in this draft? Only if a blockbuster trade is pulled off to move into the top five.
So there's always a chance.