Highest draft pick since 1980 and much anticipated future franchise cornerstone Alex Galchenyuk has gotten off to a relatively slow start in the OHL scoring race, recording a single goal and assist in 3 games.
This should not be taken as a sign that number 94 does not have the skills to dominate a junior hockey circuit. Watching him play during these games you seen a forward whose talents far outstrip his peers. His skills are well balanced between skating, puck-handling, passing, shooting and hockey sense and he shows plenty of signs of being the two-way force the Habs faithful is hoping for.
A terrific example of Galchenyuk’s prowess compared to his peers is shown on this video here, where he plays the entire powerplay, shifting from position to position and generally taking control of the game.
Galchenyuk starts on the left wing position for the initial faceoff.
The puck is sent behind the net on the draw with 94 pursuing. It rings around the offensive zone to the points. The point men control the puck and pass it down to the right side forward who is close to shooting position.
What do you know, its 94 again. He cruises in close to take a shot on net, which seems to be thwarted by a defender’s stick.
This results in a puck battle to retrieve the lose puck after the shot, which results in another opposition penalty.
The teams line up for the faceoff again, this time on a 5 on 3. Galchenyuk lines up for the left point. Sarnia wins the faceoff, puck passed to the right and then left point.
He passes it back to the right point, who sends it down to the forwards who attempt a 2 pass play to set up the man in the slot. This and another centering pass fail and the puck ends up back with Galchenyuk.
Galchenyuk decides to switch positions and carries the puck to the other point, crossing over with the other pointman number 55 (Conner Murphy).
Galchenyuk then takes a shot, taking advantage of a two player screen in front of him.
This produces a large rebound and a new scoring opportunity for 55.
Which is saved and results in another faceoff.
After the draw the puck goes back to Galchenyuk on the left point. He skates with it and makes a pass through traffic to the right forward who passes it to the right point who takes another shot.
The puck ends up returning to 94 on the left point, who once again crosses over with the right point.
He draws the forward defender to him by skating in close threatening to shoot. He then passes to the left point who quickly passes back to the right point setting up another shot, but its a double fake and 55 passes right back to 94 for the one-timer.
This is stopped by the goaltender and is cleared. 94 goes and retrieves the puck from his own goalie.
Galchenyuk beats the forchecker one on one with speed and successfully re-enters the offensive zone.
He carries the puck through the middle of 3 defenders successfully, sets up on the right half wall and sets up a new centering pass play.
This fails and the puck is returned to the Sarnia points. Galchenyuk shifts to play in the slot.
94 acts as a screen for another unsuccessful point shot. Which results in the puck getting cleared from the offensive zone.
Play continues for another minute but by this point you’ve basically seen everything interesting that happens.
During this powerplay Galchenyuk has managed to play every power play position (left and right side forward, left and right point and netman/slot).
He’s been involved in every scoring attempt, including 2 for himself by my count. He’s been everywhere and done everything. Where he went good things happened for Sarnia and chances to score were generated and he demonstrated strong abilities in pretty much every offensive catagory from puck carrying to passing to shooting to muscling for position.
Ignore the 2 points in 3 games, the offense for the Sarnia Sting this year is going to flow through the talents of number 94.