They define a prospect as anyone under the age of 24 who had played less than 65 games in the NHL. There are many exceptional talents that fit this criteria, especially the two most recent first overall picks, Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon.
The pair of number one picks are ranked third and fourth respectively by Hockey’s Future, with Florida Panthers Jonathan Huberdeau coming in at second, and Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones rounding out the top five.
Galchenyuk had an excellent season a year ago at several levels, starting the year with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, before making the Canadiens lineup in January when the lockout ended. He represented the United States twice as well, winning a gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in January, and taking home a bronze medal from the World Championship of Hockey in Sweden after the NHL season ended.
Galchenyuk averaged nearly two points per game as a member of the Sting, and then scored 27 points in 48 NHL games as a rookie. Though it only placed him fifth among rookies, he was only four points behind co-leaders Huberdeau and Yakupov.
What put Galchenyuk above the players that outscored him, was the fact he was able to keep up with them while playing less minutes. Galchenyuk averaged 11:16 per game at even strength last season, while Huberdeau played 14:32 and Yakupov averaged 12:04.
The difference in ice time is magnified when you look at power play minutes, which are a haven for scoring points. Huberdeau and Yakupov both averaged more than 2:20 each game with a man advantage while Galchenyuk only played 1:02 per game with an extra attacker.
Galchenyuk outscored all rookies at even strength last year, with 26 of his points coming when teams had equal numbers on the ice. Even though Yakupov and Huberdeau played more minutes at even strength, they scored 21 and 22 points respectively in these situations.
Being able to score more, with less ice time in a given situation, is why respected sources believe the Montreal Canadiens currently possess the best prospect in all of hockey.