Estimable draft expert Corey Pronman weighed in prior to the draft on Alex Galchenyuk, placing him third on his board: http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1307 .
He also offers an explanation of the risk involved in picking a player who played so few games this year: http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1332
His comments after the jump.
At this time last year, there were three forwards who people in the industry thought had a chance to go first overall: Mikhail Grigorenko, Nail Yakupov, and Alex Galchenyuk. Grigorenko has the work ethic question mark but the highest upside, Yakupov has the scoring track record and a more explosive style of play but his possession skill set isn’t as high end, and Galchenyuk brings a good median between the two which is why some NHL sources thought he had a great chance to go number one overall before tearing his [Editor: correction] ACL. Prior to the knee injury, Galchenyuk’s skating showed anywhere from above-average to plus with significant improvement over the last year or two. His top speed is impressive and can certainly back defensemen up. With a major knee surgery lingering over him, though, what was once a strength of his game may be in question, but when he came back at the end of the season there seemed to be no lingering effects in that area. Galchenyuk’s true strengths lie in his puck skills, vision, and overall possession ability. He’s a very talented playmaker who has a pass-first mentality, thinks the game at a high level, and his decisions require little processing time. He’s very coordinated in tight, showing plus puck skills and great creativity. While he can do great things in open ice, he’s also dangerous on the cycle with a big body and a good physical work ethic that makes it very hard for opponents to strip possession from him. Galchenyuk is a very hard worker who shows commitment at the defensive end of the rink, and outside of the knee injury, he has no aspect about his profile that you cannot praise.
Ranking Explanation: This was an easy call for me. Despite losing an entire year, from knowing the kind of skill set Galchenyuk has, I don’t see a single area besides maybe shot and his body being more developed where Forsberg is better. Galchenyuk is a better skater, has equal puck skills, on top of better offensive and defensive hockey sense. As I said in the Introduction, there is a talent fall off in my opinion after Grigorenko and after Galchenyuk.