While the Buffalo Sabres were trying to figure out whether or not to keep Mikhail Grigorenko on the roster or send him back to juniors, the Montreal Canadiens were going through the same process with their first round pick from last June's draft.
Like the Sabres, the Canadiens decided to keep their prized prospect on the roster. So far, so good for 18 year old Alex Galchenyuk.
Galchenyuk was taken with the third overall pick and was considered, along with Girgorenko, one of the prized forwards in the draft class. He played junior hockey for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. His debut campaign in 2010-2011 was quite impressive. Playing with 2012 number one pick Nail Yakupov, Glachenyuk scored 31 goals and added 52 assists in 68 games. Galchenyuk, who is of Russian descent but was actually born in Milwaukee, saw action in only two games last season due to a major knee injury.
He was back in Sarnia when the lockout kicked in where his 61 points in 33 games proved that not only was he fully recovered from the injury, but that there wasn't much else for him to accomplish at the junior level. Like Grigorenko, Galchenyuk got a chance to play on the international stage as he competed for the gold medal winning USA team at the World Junior Championships.
He has provided quite a spark for the Canadiens who are off to a 4-2 start. Galchenyuk has one goal and four assists and is averaging just under 12 and a half minutes of ice time. He's been on a line with fellow rookie Brendan Gallagher and off season acquisition Brandon Prust. Glachenyuk's five points is tied for the most among Canadiens forwards.
Gallagher is quite a story himself, going from a walk on at age 16 for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League to being selected by Montreal in the fifth round of the 2010 draft and now to the NHL where he has two goals and four points in the Habs six games.