You knew going into Friday night’s opening round of the NHL draft that the Montreal Canadiens were going to select a very good hockey player with the third overall selection. Habs fans everywhere are rejoicing however, at the selection of Sarnia Sting centreman Alex Galchenyuk. Certainly the offensive dynamo fits Montreal’s greatest need going forward – an elite offensive centreman with size. Galchenyuk has been touted by many pundits as a guy who could have gone first overall in this draft were it not for a year-long injury to his ACL that forced him to miss the lion’s share of his draft-eligible year. That is exactly the type of value pick up that you normally find in the middle of the first round, but the upside and potential for huge return was too much for the Montreal Canadiens to overlook. This is not a pick without risk however.
The fact that Galchenyuk missed such a large amount of time means that the Canadiens are drafting him based on his play at a younger age, as well as a little bit on hype. We have all heard things said about him that are largely based on his effort in the gym and personality. Habs fans would do well to remember that when Andrei Kostitsyn was drafted, things such as “were it not for his (sickness in his case) he may have been drafted higher”. We also heard that he was the most talented skater in that draft, but had fallen only because of concerns over his epilepsy.
I’m not suggesting Galcheyuk will be a bust. Far from it. I think Galchenyuk is an incredible talent.I also think that his gym-rat reputation may have played a big part in his selection given how Max Pacioretty has shown the value of perseverance through injury in the gym.
Still, you have to factor in the possibility that if he had played this season, he could have regressed. The fact that he didn’t play means that scouts have the job of imagining what he could have done in a full year.
Michael Grigorenko started the season as the consensus #2 pick – and yet fell to #14 and the Buffalo Sabres. (Which by-the-way has the potential to be an incredible steal at that pick for a team that is starting to stock-pile really talented offensive guys).
This is a time however, for rejoicing. Galchenyuk is elite – there is no question. Montreal finally has that dynamic offensive centreman in its system. Because of his injury its likely that we’ll see him in the AHL next season next to Brendan Gallagher and on a powerplay with Nathan Beaulieau. Exciting thoughts for Habs fans.
Montreal will pick twice in the 2nd round (33 and 51), once in the 3rd (64), once in the fourth (94), once in the fifth (122) , and one final pick in the sixth (154). Late round picks have been traditionally where Trevor Timmins and his staff have shined. It will be interesting to see what further gems the Habs will pick up.
Go Habs Go!!!