FTHM III: ALEX GALCHENYUK

Robin Brownlee
June 20 2012 09:07AM

A lot of people believe that if Sarnia Sting centre Alex Galchenyuk hadn't missed most of the 2011-2012 season with a knee injury he'd be neck and neck with teammate Nail Yakupov as the top-ranked prospect going into the NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.

After seeing Galchenyuk blaze through fitness testing at the NHL Combine, putting to rest any fears the knee is a problem, more than a few hockey people think he still belongs in the same sentence as the dynamic Yakupov. My guess is you can count the Edmonton Oilers among them.

While that shouldn't be taken as meaning Oilers chief scout Stu MacGregor and his staff have Galchenyuk rated above or dead-even with Yakupov on their prospect list, you've got to think Edmonton's brain trust is looking long and hard at the possibility of taking a pivot to complement 2011 first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

I've gone as far as to suggest the Oilers should swing for the fences and take Yakupov with the first overall pick and then do whatever it takes -- short of moving Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle – to acquire another top-five pick and use it to select Galchenyuk. That, obviously, would take a lot of maneuvering by GM Steve Tambellini. Suffice to say, it's a long shot, at best.

More than likely, then, it's going to be an either-or situation with Yakupov and Galchenyuk when it comes to Tambellini's trip to the podium. Is Yakupov the obvious choice or might Galchenyuk get the call? My sense is it's closer than many people think.

HOW HE RATES

NHL Central Scouting: No. 4 among North American skaters

The Hockey News: No. 7

International Scouting Services: No. 16

McKeen’s Hockey: No. 2

Red Line Report: No. 6

TSN: No. 4

THE SKINNY FROM CSS

A knee injury suffered in a 2011-12 OHL preseason game limited Galchenyuk to all but the last two regular season games and six games playoff games -- he recorded four points (2-2-4) during Sarnia’s first round loss to Saginaw.

In 2010-11, Galchenyuk finished second among Ontario Hockey League rookies with 83 points (31-52-83), behind only his teammate and good friend Nail Yakupov (49-52-101).

He was the fourth U.S.-born player to be selected first overall in the OHL priority draft (2010), joining Pat Peake (1990), Patrick O'Sullivan (2001) and Rob Schremp (2002).

Prior to being drafted, Galchenyuk competed for the Chicago Young Americans of the Midwest Elite League for the 2009-10 season -- he led the league in scoring (by 33 points) totaling 87 points (44-43-87) in 38 games.

WHAT THEY SAY

David O'Connor, NHLDraft.com

"Galchenyuk is a big, play-making center who can skate very well, especially for his size. He has outstanding vision, hockey sense and is a great passer. He’s always very aware of where everyone is and will be on the ice, and he uses that to his advantage.

"Galchenyuk uses his big body well to create space for himself in the slot and on the boards. He has a very underrated shot, exceptional release and is very accurate. He can not only produce offensively night-in night-out, but he’s also very good defensively and understands that taking care of things in his own end is as important as producing at the other end of the ice. He also has outstanding hands and can often be found stick-handling in phone booths."

MACGREGOR'S TAKE

Scouting Report: "He's an intense and highly skilled big centre. He's not going to bang you off the puck, but he'll use leverage. He's high-end."

Projection: "A tremendous No. 2 centre."

Weaknesses: "He has to add come consistency to his game. His problem is he missed so much of the year with his injury. He's missed some development time, so we haven't seen all of the package yet."

NHL Comparable: "Well, who's a great second-line NHL centre? He's not really like a Jordan Staal. He kind of reminds of (winger) Milan Hejduk, actually. In tight, he's pretty quick."

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 D-Man
June 20 2012, 12:55PM
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maverick wrote:

I know we all hope this draft will make the oilers better now but this is about 3 years down the road.

Gagner is a RFA in need of a contract and is 2 years away from UFA status. His contract might be $20million over 4 years. In 3 years who will be the 2nd line center if gagner leaves in two years?

If galchenyuk is ready in 3 years to replace would anyone complain about drafting a complement player to RNH at center??

I don't think you'll need to give Gagner that big of a contract... He's not putting up the numbers to get $5 million/year... With his stats and considering the recent signings of other players with his statistics - a contract of $10.5 - $11.5 million over three years seems in the ball park...

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#52 Fresh Mess
June 20 2012, 01:10PM
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Gagner has done nothing to earn a raise over his current salary. Qualify him and that's it.

The Oilers have to get alot smarter in their fiscal management.

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#53 Archaeologuy
June 20 2012, 01:12PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Gagner has done nothing to earn a raise over his current salary. Qualify him and that's it.

The Oilers have to get alot smarter in their fiscal management.

If you honestly believe that then you are totally out to lunch on what players are getting paid right now.

Be prepared for him to be earning more than 3.5 million on his next contract.

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#54 junior mint 77
June 20 2012, 01:22PM
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@ mayorpoop who exactly is going to be our 2nd line c this year if you just trade gagner like that and be real here look at our gm it takes him a year to decide whats for breakfast so do you think he will be able to plug that gap with a trade,all i have too say is 2013 hello stud dman seth jones 1st overall 4th yr in a row

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#55 mayorpoop
June 20 2012, 01:44PM
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@junior mint77

completely get what you are saying. next year by all accounts we still have some learning to do and i appreciate a true #2 center would be good. for 1 yr, as painful as it sounds, it would be worth doing it by commitee or have one person step up. wouldn't mind seeing Hall get some time there.

not fool proof but worth the risk imo.

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#56 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 20 2012, 01:45PM
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If Sam Gagner isn't worth 5 million dollars per yr, then why the heck are Horcoff and Hemsky getting it?

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#57 mayorpoop
June 20 2012, 01:46PM
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@arch

as much as i may dislike the contracts being paid, you are correct, this is the new standard.

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#58 junior mint 77
June 20 2012, 01:54PM
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dont get me wrong here either i like gal and if there was a way to get a second pick in top 5 im not against it at all i just think if we had a gm who could make a deal or decision on anything without taking forever it might be doable without giving up the big 4 including yak,and gagner because if we did get gal in trade but kept sam in a yr or 2 gal would be ready and sam might be more valuable playing a season with hall,and yak as his wingers inflatting his stats an extra 5-10 points

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#59 Old Soldier
June 20 2012, 02:37PM
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Barring a Burke like miracle where the Oil could draft both Yak and Galchenyuk this is a tough call. There has been talk about trying Hall at center in training camp, if it works great we have two potential top lines with Ebs/RNH, Yak/Hall. But if not, after two consecutive #1 picks, I might be willing to roll the dice and go for Galchenyuk, big talented center and once again, two top lines. Even better if we could trade down to 3 or 4 and pick up an asset as well.

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#60 Stevo
June 20 2012, 02:42PM
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Easy summer ahead, providing Stevo follows Stevo's plan. - draft the Yak - sign Paul Gaustad - sign one "D" - trade/lose Belanger

line-up Hall-Nuge-Ebs PRV-Gags-Yak Jones-Horc-Hemmer Eager-Gaustad-Petrell

Whitney-Petry Schultz- New guy (Schultz) Smid-Sutton (or somebody steps up)

They re-upped Sutton at the deadline for decent money, he's big and gritty, it's his job to lose to one of the kids. Gaustad is 6'5 and killer on the dot. He's tougher then Belanger and harder to play against. Great PK tandem with Petrell.

Obviously Devan is our starter and Vodka would play a limited role, aside from helping out with the Yak

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#61 Old Soldier
June 20 2012, 02:44PM
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Its no secret Howson is a huge fan of Hemsky, since his days in the organization I really wonder if we couldnt throw an overpayment of Hemsky, Gagner, Teubert and even Khabbybulin(veteran backup for a year and gets you to the salary cap floor) and #32 for #2 and Methot.

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#62 HOFFFF
June 20 2012, 03:07PM
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Yak and Yuk. Sweeeet.

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#63 steelymac
June 20 2012, 03:37PM
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What do you guys think of Gagner and Magnus to the ducks for Getzlaf and a pick?

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#64 steelymac
June 20 2012, 03:44PM
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Ok let me also ad Peckam or Omark to that list for Getzlaf and a pick.

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#65 topcheese14
June 20 2012, 04:06PM
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I can't believe there hasn't been a Wanye article about Ebs winning the Byng tonight...

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#66 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 20 2012, 04:07PM
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@ steelymac

Getzlaf is a UFA in one yr. You'd give all that up for one yr of Getzlaf? I know Edmonton has a penchant for Ryans but that's alot to give up for only one yr.

The ideal Anaheim deal would be for Bobby Ryan. The Ducks want to shave considerable dollars off their payroll and want little salary along with picks and prospects in return. He's signed for Hemsky type money for 3 more yrs.

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#67 D-Man
June 20 2012, 04:30PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

@ steelymac

Getzlaf is a UFA in one yr. You'd give all that up for one yr of Getzlaf? I know Edmonton has a penchant for Ryans but that's alot to give up for only one yr.

The ideal Anaheim deal would be for Bobby Ryan. The Ducks want to shave considerable dollars off their payroll and want little salary along with picks and prospects in return. He's signed for Hemsky type money for 3 more yrs.

No offense, but I'd definitely give all that up for Getzlaf... Considering the fact that you're giving up Peckham (who's at best a 6th defensemen), Omark (who isn't worth anything), PRV (who still hasn't found his way and is a 'maybe') and Gagner (who is a 2nd line center but not nearly as good as Getzlaf) - I'd take that in a heartbeat... Sure - Getzlaf is a UFA, but you make cap room to afford a player of that calibre.

I don't believe he's reached his ceiling either... You could probably re-sign him for a two/three year deal for $6.0 million... If not - there's always the trade line and a player of that skill would demand a hell of a lot more than what you'd give up (in this case)...

Anaheim would never make that trade (as it makes no sense for them) but still you'd win that trade - even if it lasts for only one year...

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#68 nunyour
June 20 2012, 04:34PM
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draft yak,you will have hall,nug,eberle,and yak.put a package of hemsky ,gagne and second pick on the table and see if anyone bites.

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#70 nunyour
June 20 2012, 05:02PM
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overpay for sure but it gives you a chance to land the second line centre we need and 6 to 7 mill for a top defenceman.

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#71 derrickhands
June 20 2012, 05:06PM
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I would take Galchenyuk over Yakupov no questions asked. There is more of a need for the 2nd C then most people realize. Last year other teams were keying on RNH and the top line, with another good center this would relieve the pressure. Galchenyuk is closer to 6'2" and likes the psychical game which the Oilers need and he would create the room for his wingers to play. It could of been Yakupov's injuries, but some say Galchenyuk was the superior player in the play-offs this year and he wasn't really in game shape yet.

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#72 Oiler AL
June 20 2012, 05:10PM
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Getzlaf, good player, but I am not sure he's the same player he was before his injury last year. I would sooner waste a Hemsky or Gagner on someone like Staal from Pitts.

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#73 steelymac
June 20 2012, 05:16PM
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Getzlaf has won at every level,he dominates in the faceoffs,he is tough as nails and would teach the kids how to win.The guy is a prairie boy and im sure would not have a problem playing in Edmonton.The fact he is a UFA in a year might mean the ducks would trade him now rather than lose him in a year.

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#74 FastOil
June 21 2012, 11:10PM
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Good points Arch

However I think that while Galchenyuk might not be Richards he has a much better chance of being like Kopitar than Gagner does. It doesn't move the team forward much and is risky to trade a centre to draft a centre even if he's somewhat better in the end.

But what about other assets? One of the D prospects and the best 2nd in the draft, plus? Having RHN Gagner Galchenyuk could be pretty nice. Especially if Schultz can be landed to offset the D prospect.

And then when things go haywire and the team tanks again, add MacKinnon to the fold and look out. At least until they have to be traded because of the cap.

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