Have you heard of Sarnia Sting forward Alex Galchenyuk? If you are just a casual hockey fan probably not, but this is a player you'll be watching in the NHL one day. Galchenyuk was projected to be a Top 5 pick in the pre-season draft predictions, and some scouts even thought he could be drafted as high as 3rd in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Galchenyuk last season put up 31 goals and 52 assists, for 83 points had a great year playing alongside projected #1 pick, Nail Yakupov. Still only 17 and 6"1 with room to grow, the scouts are drooling over Galchenyuk's potential.
But after an ugly crash into the goal post in a September pre-season game, he has been out of action and had to have surgery to repair a torn ACL. It looks like Galchenyuk will miss most of his draft eligible season, if not all of it from this awkward fall.
So the big question many have been asking is will Galchenyuk slip in the 2012 NHL Draft? Other players have missed major chunks of their draft year, but still went where they were projected to. Brett Connolly played in only 16 games his draft year for the Prince George Cougars while battling a hip injury. He still managed to put up 10 goals and 19 points and that was good enough for the Tampa Bay Lightning to draft him 6th overall in 2010. Connolly at just 19 years old is a full time player in Tampa so it seems like that gamble paid off.
With Galchenyuk's high skill level he would be a tough player to pass up on, but some GM's might be weary about drafting a young player who's already suffered a season-ending injury. Where Galchenyuk goes will be one of the major stories of the 2012 Draft and it will be interesting to see if he slips to become a first round steal or a team takes a Connolly-like gamble on him and reaps the rewards.