Going For Galchenyuk

It was an impressive bunch indeed who took part in the recent NHL Combine, a 100 or more young physical specimens lifting and jumping and squeezing in front of an audience of NHL bigshots who studied these young fellows like men ogling strippers from the front seats of a strip club.

These young guys, strong, quick, and with great hair, are ready to make their mark in the big leagues, and watching them is a reminder how things have changed in pro sports with big contracts on the line. Long gone are the days of whipping into shape two weeks before the season opener. Gone are the days of the chubby and out-of-shape. Rest in peace, Gump Worsley.

With Montreal choosing third on Friday’s Entry Draft, it was interesting to see these kids and hear them talk and see what they can bring to the table. Do the Habs need a great young defenceman such as Ryan Murray, Mathew Dumba, or Morgan Rielly, or is a flashy forward like Mikhail Grigorenko or Alex Galchenyuk the answer? For me, from watching the Combines, I’m hoping it’s Galchenyuk who puts on the CH in four days.

Galchenyuk not only impressed at the Combines with his jumping and lifting, but also with his personality. This is is a kid with all kinds of charisma, and the fans, media, and ladies would love him. If Montreal is going to have a great young superstar, it’s terrific that he’s interesting and doesn’t come off as a cardboard talking head.

Most importantly, of course, is his talent, and from all accounts, this guy has plenty. He’s a big 6’2, 185 lb. package of speed and skill, notching 83 points in 68 games as a 16-year old with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. The following season he played only two regular season games and six playoff contests because of a knee injury, but that hasn’t seemed to bother scouts and general managers. He makes them drool even without playing.

Galchenyuk is also a bit of a curiosity. He’s American-born, from Milwaukee, his dad was a minor league hockey player, but the family returned to Minsk when Alex was a toddler. The family would come back to the U.S. when the young fellow was 15 so he could play Midget AAA for the Chicago Young Americans, where he sparkled, and a year later he was drafted by the Sarnia Sting.

Galchenyuk speaks English with a light Russian accent, and is a dual citizen, holding both American and Russian passports. He has said that when it comes time to play for his country, it would be the U.S., which should put to rest any concerns about the kid bolting to the KHL. That and the fact that he’s spent his formative teen years in North America honing his craft.

Galchenyuk apparently has what it takes to be a star in the NHL, and what better place to shine than in Montreal? In interviews he’s showed he’s not nervous in front of a microphone, he believes in himself, and seems a rare breath of fresh air. He’s poised and skilled and you would have to think there would be an opening for him in the near future when you consider the Habs’ centremen currently consists of David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller, Ryan White, and yes, Scott Gomez. Surely he’d find a spot in there somewhere. And it’s just another in several dozen reasons to send Gomez packing.

Of course, all this is wasted two-fingered typing if the young fellow goes second, after Nail Yakupov, or fourth, which is the Islanders’ pick. I’m just saying he’d be a nice pick for the Habs, and I’m hoping it happens.



14 thoughts on “Going For Galchenyuk”

  1. Serious question: As US citizen, living in this sauna called Louisiana, would an Anglophone American go over? I could care less if he was a Martian, as long as he would help the team win big…

  2. Mike, anyone would go over, as long as he helps. The real question is, do we want a forward or a defenceman? Imagine a Chris Pronger-type, and then imagine a Guy Lafleur-type.

  3. We need a forward more than a defenceman. We really need a Centre (but we’re also in need of some more LW players).

    I’m not sure how this is going to go because for all we know there could be a trade for that 3rd (better be a damn good one) or we may pick someone we all least expect like Dumba.

    By rights Edmonton should pick Dumba since they need defencemen desperately and Columbus may not pick Yakopov so this may be an interesting situation. If Yakopov, Galchenyuk, or Forsberg are available at the same time I’m not sure who we should pick.

    It might be crazy to pass on Yakopov..but then Galchenyuk’s there. Thank god I’m not making the choice because I’d drive myself nuts trying to decide who to pick.

    I’m also really looking forward to Free Agency Day. A couple of nice beers and hopefully some good trades!

  4. Hey.. Hab fans Galchenyuk is the guy everyone in Toronto including Burke wants for the Leafs as their next impact centre…. Come on be nice …..

  5. @ Mike
    You raise a great point. Unfortunately, being anglo is bad enough but as a player it will be put up with. But for some stupid reason people get all insecure about too many Americans playing on our team. Funny, no body is saying anything about Max and Cole in that regard….. This kind of provincial thinking really bugs me. Altho if we are winning, and that is all that matters, everything and everyone is OK, so go figure.

  6. Dennis where did you get to see the players’ performances at the combine? Are any videos available online? Or even summaries? I don’t know enough of these players. I didn’t even know that Galchenyuk grew up overseas.

    The closest I came to seeing them was when Cherry had the top ranked players on HNIC during the playoffs. And all I learned was how big Grigorenko was. He was who I expected Montreal to pick, but his ranking seems to be dropping.

    Leaf Fan if Burke really wants Galchenyuk, he should trade up. If I were Bergevin, I’d swap first round picks if Toronto throws in its second round pick. This is even a slight risk as I think Yakupov could still be around at #3.

    Hobo I’m one who thinks we’ve already drafted too many Americans. You’re correct that it shouldn’t matter and if we win no one will care. But I want to simplify who I cheer for; I want the player I cheer to lead us to Stanley Cup glory to be the same one as I cheer to Olympic gold. And in the meantime no matter how good Cole and Pacioretty are, we’re still stuck with Gomez.

  7. Chris, the Combines was on a few weeks ago.
    I don’t know if I’d do the same deal with Toronto as you. It’s not often one gets a top three pick and I think we should go for it.

  8. Darth, I think a big, superstar defenceman would fit in nicely with Subban, Markov, and Gorges. But you’re right, a great young centreman would be fantastic. We need someone to rise fans out of the seats.

  9. Dennis, Toronto has the #5 pick and I think it’s a crap shoot who will have the best career of Yakupov, Murray, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko or Forsberg. I’d prefer a forward, but I’d be happy with any of them.
    I think the uncertainty about the three Russians is why Murray’s stock is rising, with him you know what you get. It’s not fair to lump them all together, but for every Datsyuk and Malkin there’s a Kovalev or Ovechkin or worse a Semin or Radulov.

  10. Chris, I agree with what you except for one thing. I don’t thing Galchenyuk is considered a risk at at all. He wants to represent the US on the world stage, he plays in the OHL, and he came back to America to play AAA midget. I think he’s an exception aa far as risk factor goes. I read that one NHL executive has Grigorenko way down arounf 20th now. Maybe it was something the kid said.

  11. That’s a good point about Grigorenko, Dennis. I was so looking forward to a big skilled centre. If he’s no longer a top candidate, that means we could be giving up quite a bit by dropping to the Leafs fifth pick. On the other hand Dumba stock has been rising.

    It’s a good sign that Galchenyuk came back to play minor and junior. The others also played junior here as well. But the KHL is still a viable alternative for all of them. It may not be fair that I’m holding their adaptability against them, but thems the breaks.

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