You knew that when the Canadiens had their highest pick since 1980, that they would take advantage. Rookie GM Marc Bergevin and head of scouting Trevor Timmins had what they called an easy decision when they picked Alex Galchenyuk of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, 3rd overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Galchenyuk was born in Wisconsin but raised in arenas everywhere from Moscow to Milwaukee, and even Italy. Touted by scouts as one of the most complete players available in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, if he hadn’t torn his ACL and missed the majority of the 2011-12 season, he could have given Sarnia Sting linemate Nail Yakupov a run for first overall. But the Habs brass is happy to have him. Bergevin said after picking Galchenyuk: “That’s the guy we wanted. I like his size, I like his character, I like his hockey sense, I like his vision and I like his desire to be a hockey player.” He adds, “I knew I wanted him at the combine in Toronto. When he came to Montreal a few weeks ago, it just reinforced what I already thought about him. After we spoke in Toronto and he left, I looked at Trevor and just said, ‘Yep’. I saw it in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life and nothing is going to stop him from being the best hockey player he can be.”
Having only minimal stats to show for the 2011-12 season because of his ACL injury, his rookie season in 2010-11 as a 16-year old with the Sarnia Sting is impressive enough. In 68 games, Galchenyuk scored 31 goals and added 52 assists for 83 points.