Tuesday Scouting Report: Alex Galchenyuk
Sarnia Sting, center
Born 1994 (18 years old)
70GP (31G - 52A - 83P, -12)
IN ONE SENTENCE
Galchenyuk is the ultimate risk and reward pick, as he dominates all fronts of the ice (scoring, passing, physical, defense), but is plagued by a scary injury history.
Though he is the ultimate risk and reward selection, the potential reward is exceptionally high. He's a decently sized topline center, who really excels in any facet of the game. What has impressed so many scouts is his ability to read and react to surroundings, which is anointed as the reason to why he's so consistent in all areas. When scouts say all areas, it is in literal terms. Alex's defensive positioning is astounding, his passing and shooting are NHL caliber, and he skates speedily and effortlessly. This all not to mention that his ability to protect the puck in any situation is excellent as well. Scouts have also ranted and raved on how great Galchenyuk does with so little given to him, in terms of passing and shooting options, in addition to the space and time he has. He's also surprisingly physical for his lanky frame. Despite only weighing 180lbs, he knows how to leverage himself quite well, and his great skating capability doesn't hurt him either. Sometimes lost in all of Alex's prominent offensive ability is his just as high defensive skill level. His positioning is fantastic. This can be credited to his above-average hockey sense, as you'll often find him in the right position at the right time, all the time. He really has the ability to be an elite two-way threat.
With all that's mentioned above, you'd think Galchenyuk would be in talk for first overall. He's not, and here's why: he admittedly has a scary injury history. He blew his knee out early this year, and only played two games – at the end of the season. Sarnia was knocked out early in the playoffs as well, so scouts really did not get a good look at him in his draft year. However, his projection to go around fifth overall should speak volumes to how talented and capable he is. There really is not a major gripe with Alex other than his injury history. Some scouts want to see him fill out his 6'1 frame, but even that isn't really an issue. He's not a small center at 6'1/185, and some NHL conditioning should easily do the trick. Another potentially minor issue is that he sometimes tries to do too much with the puck. However, as you can see any of these "gripes" are easily fixed with professional coaching.
DRAFT DAY OUTLOOK
I would see that Galchenyuk is the most likely to be selected by Toronto. Luckily, his injury this season has degraded his value by a few spots, which should allow the Leafs to select him at number five. However, don't be surprised if he goes earlier. He has the NHL – ready skill and capability, and many say that the only reason Mikhail Grigorenko is ahead of him on the charts is because of his injury. However, with all that being said it's likely he gets selected between four and seven.
PROJECTION NHL OUTCOME: As long as his injury doesn't slow him down, there's no reason not to believe why he doesn't dominate the league as an above-average topline center. He has 90 point potential.
NHL COMPARISON: This is where it gets pretty lofty with Alex, as a few names that come to mind when comparing himself to NHL regulars include Claude Giroux, Jonathan Toews, and Henrik Zetterberg. As you can see, whoever selects him really could be getting the steal of the draft.
Alex M @degratesports