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12-21-2012, 07:02 AM
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I've been following these boards for a few years now as an intrested spectator at the debates and news of the going on's of the Montreal Canadiens and their affiliated clubs. Its only because of this draft class that I wanted to express myself and give voice to my thoughts that I figured now would be a good time to discuss them.

I grew up following the Canadiens, this 2012 draft class, never in my memory do I recall ever having this high of a draft pick. So I was excited to see who we would draft, even though this draft was suppossed to be a defenseman heavy draft, there still were some good forwards available and my hope was that Montreal would focus on forwards since we were already deep on defenseman prospects. I also was keen on seeing how our new GM Marc Bergevin was going to handle himself and see how he will draft, after all he helped build the Chicago Blackhawks who are perennial Stanley Cup contenders now. So knowing all this I did have to temper my hopes since the 2012 draft class was a weak overall draft class. My only hope was that like most of the people here that he draft Alexander Galchenyuk and i would be satisfied with that. Montreal desperately needed a top franchise centerman to help revitalize the club.

Marc Bergevin didn't disappoint and he drafted Alexander Galchenyuk to the cheers of all Hab fans. Even with him only playing a few games that year because of his injury, his potential was there for everyone to see, he may not have had the resume of Nail Yakupov, but Galchenyuk's upside was potential huge. A cornerstone franchise centerman you can build on to make a team better like Pittsburgh did with Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They understood by building through the middle you can create a strong franchise that can contend for years to come.

As I said before I would of been more then happy just to get Galchenyuk in the draft, but Trevor Timmins added more luster to his resume when he added a stellar class of forwards to the 2012 draft for Montreal. With Sebastian Collberg in my opinion as the steal of the draft since he was ranked as high as 11th in some draft boards and dropped to 33rd to Montreal. For me he is a top10 player and in essence Montreal picked up two top number one picks in the draft.

But to go back to Galchenyuk, he is every teams dream of what a top franchise centerman should be. Plays big, great vision and great puck moving skills. I was very surprised that the Columbus Bluejackets didn't draft Galchenyuk and pair him with Rick Nash to create a dynamic top line that would not only turn Columbus around but bring fans to their stadium. Happily Bergevin did not make this mistake and after watching the Youtube videos posted by the members from this forum and watching some highlights on the OHL website, I have say Galchenyuk has allayed everyone's fears that his injury has slowed him down. He not only is tied for the goal lead, but is only one point behind the lead scorer in the league who is a year older then him.

For me if Montreal is to become a perennial Stanley Cup contending team, Alexander Galchenyuk was the first step. Get that cornerstone centerman that will make the team better as a whole. I would even add that to contend for the cup, you need two such centerman which is why this 2013 draft is looking so important for Montreal. For Galchenyuk, I would say all he has to do is keep playing as he is doing now and continue to grow his game. He already is better then everyone around him, there are some on these forums who think he shouldn't be rushed, I'm going to beg to differ with that for a reason.

Alexander Galchenyuk, even if he has a stellar Junior Worlds and puts up lots of points, I still believe he should return to the OHL and continue to play this year. If we have a shortened NHL season, then I can see the Montreal organization calling Galchenyuk up for a few games so he can get acclimated to the pace of the game at the NHL level, but I seriously doubt they would want to burn a year off his eligibility, but next year in 2013, Galchenyuk will join the club full time. I just don't see how he won't be there because his game is growing at such a level that he's already the best player in the OHL, would spending a year in the AHL really help him?

The question does have to be asked if he does move up full time in 2013, would we want him to play center right away like Edmonton did with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins centering the line with Hall and Eberle, or do we do like Pittsburgh did with Sydney Crosby and have him play wing for a year and slowly bring him into his new responsablities. I think the answer will be both actually. He'll probably start off at wing on the second line but as his game matures, and I have faith it will, we will start seeing him center a line and we may even see him center the top line with Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole as the year progresses. It really all depends on Galchenyuk and how fast he is willing to learn, and by judging the way he is playing in the OHL and the pre-game with Sweden, he is learning fast.

Lastly I want to touch on the thorny debate on whether he should be more defensively inclined or go more offense. ALOT of people have been comparing Alex Galchenyuk to Jonathan Toews because Galchenyuk also plays on the penalty kill with Sarnia. I really don't see how they can be compared. Toews is an exceptional defensive forward that can put up a steady 70pts a season. Something very few forwards in his category can do. Galchenyuk for me reminds me alot of Evgeni Malkin. Not because I want him to be a 50goal scorer, although that would be nice, but Galchenyuk plays very big on the ice, he has a wide stance like Malkin has and his dekes and dangles are already becoming legendary. He also has another Malkin trait in that its very hard to move him off the puck when he has it. The only thing they don't share is Malkin doesn't play on the PK while Galchenyuk does at Sarnia.

As to the debate whether Galchenyuk should go down the road as a defensive or offensive prospect, I think the best answer is to let Galchenyuk develop into the player that he is meant to be. He has great vision, great hands and an awareness of what is going on around him. Those qualities are already there for us to see and should translate into a dominating centerman that will terrorize his division and any team he faces in the forceable future. He understands the pressure because early in his life he's had to deal with it when he had to make hard choices to which country he wanted to play for. He gave up his dual citizenship so he could play for the USA junior team. Players like these that are cognitant of their actions at his age should do well in the pressure packed envirment that will be required of him as he plays for Montreal.

I am very excited for the future of the Montreal Canadiens. Its been a VERY long time that I have been this excited, for me Alexander Galchenyuk is a steal, not because he was third in the draft and two others were drafted ahead of him, no, he is a steal because he was there at the right time to come when the Montreal Canadiens were in desperate need of his calibur of talent. They didn't need another defensive prospect, they didn't need a winger, they needed a top line center with skills that can make the whole team better. And you know what, many teams out there would mortgage their future to find a centerman like Galchenyuk because of what he can potential bring to the club. For Montreal, everything worked in this 2012 draft, Galchenyuk's injury helped push his stock down enough that even if Nail Yakupov was the consensus first pick with a healthy Galchenyuk, would then Columbus be tempted to pick him over Ryan Murray? My thoughts would be yes, Galchenyuk would of gone second overall if he was healthy. So yes I do feel this pick was a steal for Montreal. We got what we desperately needed at a time of great need.

I'm going to go over to the 2013 draft thread and talk about this draft class, this class to me is now very important, not just because its a loaded draft with as many as 40 players that could go in the first round. But its loaded with top line centerman and multiple powerforwards that all teams are looking for. There is 4 forwards that are close to eachother in skills that I think Montreal should focus on and my thoughts on having two top line centers to anchor your club with to win champions with, this draft has them and its critical that montreal try and nab one of them. These two draft classes will be the cornerstone building blocks to a strong team for the near future, with a first and 3 seconds in the 2013 draft, Montreal is in very good shape to pick up many quality talents in the draft.

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