2012 NHL Draft Scouting Report: Alex Galchenyuk
The story of Alex Galchenyuk is an interesting one. Originally born in Milwaukee while his father was playing with the AHL, Galchenyuk seems to be the type of player who was born and bred to be a hockey player. From an early age, he has traveled all over the globe training to be a top end hockey player. I first saw Alex at the 2008 Whitby Silversticks. Playing as a 94 against the 93 age group, he dominated the tournament on a wildcard Moscow Dynamo entry. The next year he was rostered on the U16 Chicago Young Americans team, and was one of the most offensively dominant players in minor midget. He was drafted 1st overall by the Sarnia Sting, and had one of the best rookie seasons the Ontario Hockey League has seen. This season was not as successful, as he missed almost the entire season with a knee injury. He did return later into the season and didn’t show much rust, but the missed year has definitely left some questions in scouts heads. Expectations are that he will be one of the first players drafted in the 2012 NHL Draft, and should return to Sarnia for another year of development.
Galchenyuk has been one of my favorite players to watch in the past few years. Initially in Chicago and into Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League, Galchenyuk has always been a player who has top end offensive puck skills. His ability to read the ice at top speeds and intelligent, skilled passes is astounding. He has both the ability to finish off plays around the net or the ability to generate offense anywhere in the offensive zone. He has a laser shot with a very quick release. He is not scared off by physical play, and although does not often engage, he is more then willing to use his body to win a battle or to take a hit to make a play. Before the knee injury, he was one of the best pure skaters in the draft, showing top end acceleration and footwork. What you like the most about that speed is the fact that he doesn’t slow down with the puck. Most players at this age group need to take a few second to read the play before taking a course of action. With Galchenyuk, he always picks up the puck and already has a plan in place, and can execute that plan at high speeds. He is one of the most dynamic offensive players to come out of the OHL in a while, and can be projected out as a true top end offensive centre at the next level.
There are a few question marks about Alex Galchenyuk, and they all come from the fact that he missed almost all of the season this year with a knee injury. It’s less about the knee injury itself, but more about a missed year of progression. He has not had the opportunity to develop his offensive skills this year, or fine-tune his positional play. I have no doubt that his offensive skills will translate to the next level, but a lost year of development is a lost year, and for a 17 year old hockey player, the question needs to be asked if it will affect him? Personally I don’t think so, but its something that people will be bound to ask.
Individual skill Rankings (out of 10)
Skill : 9
Hockey Sense: 7
Positional Play: 7
Galchenyuk projects out as a number one offensive minded centre at the next level.
Galchenyuk is currently ranked as my #2 player for the NHL draft out of Ontario, and should go anywhere between 2-5 for the NHL Draft.