His name is Alexander Galchenyuk, and he provides some very interesting possibilites for the Dallas Stars at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. Galchenyuk, the 18 year old Sarnia Sting center, might not be completely familiar to you. His teammate, winger Nail Yakupov, is getting all the attention as he is the likely #1 pick. In addition to this, Galchenyuk suffered a serious knee injury at the beginning of the OHL season and played just two games, causing him to fall out of the limelight and maybe causing him to fall a few spots in the draft rankings behind current top center prospect Mikhail Grigorenko. He had 83 points as a 16-year old rookie in his first year with Sarnia and is considered by some to be the top natural scorer in the entire draft. The culmination of a missed season and the success of Grigorenko, Yakupov, and other top prospects have most rankings and mock drafts putting Galchenyuk around the 5th pick of the draft, that pick belonging to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
This is where the Dallas Stars have an opportunity to make a bold move for the second best center prospect in the draft.
The most likely scenario has Yakupov, Grigorenko, and defenseman Ryan Murray being selected in the top three picks (the order, however, is the mystery, no one knows what Edmonton will do with that #1 pick). After that the New York Islanders have the #4 pick and are not necessarily in need of anymore young offensive stars, they’re chalk full of those in the form of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, and Michael Grabner, among others and would be wise to select a defenseman. So, if common sense prevails, Alexander Galchenyuk will be available at the #5 pick.
Should the Dallas Stars attempt to trade up and grab him?
The Stars have solid defensive prospects in the form of Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth, shouldn’t they start focusing on the single biggest weakness on the team? That weakness being center. There are no studs waiting down in Austin and converting a natural winger like Jamie Benn into the position of center is an admirable way of covering up their holes, but the Stars need a bonafide natural center anchoring the team. Mike Ribeiro is getting older and his future with the team will become very cloudy in the upcoming season with his contract expiring at the end of the season.
Any trade to move up would of course involve the #13 pick going back the other way, along with a player(s) and possibly more compensation. The Maple Leafs’ biggest weakness this past season was at goaltender. They have prolific scorer Phil Kessel along with Joffrey Lupul and Mikhail Grabovski leading the offense and a solid defensive unit with the likes of Jake Gardiner and Luke Schenn only improving and destined to take the reigns in the coming years. What they truly lack is the depth and goaltending needed to be a playoff team. So what kind of players would it take? Richard Bachman is undersized and inexperienced and with only 18 appearances under his belt he’s not likely to be all that attractive to a desperate Maple Leaf team. I don’t think the Stars are willing to part with Jack Campbell either (and obviously, Kari Lehtonen is off the market). It doesn’t seem feasible that the Stars can fix the Maple Leafs’ goaltending issues. They’d have to tackle their lack of depth.
So how about Brenden Morrow? You might recall Morrow’s name being thrown around at the trade deadline, with the Maple Leafs (still in the race for a playoff spot at that point) rumored to be one of the suitors. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Morrow’s best days are behind him, but he still holds significant value as a hockey player when he’s healthy. If there were to be any deal between the Stars and the Maple Leafs, I’d venture out and guarantee Morrow would be a part of it. But is Morrow plus the #13 pick enough for a #5? There’s a possibility, but the immediate gut reaction is a no, and the Stars would have to give up more. What that might be is a mystery, another NHL player? Another pick? A prospect? The possibilities grow tenfold when another piece is added.
There’s no knowing if Alexander Galchenyuk would be NHL ready right away until training camp rolls around, but at the most he’d need one more year to dominate in the OHL. Going after a top offensive weapon might be the splash the Stars are looking for. It all comes down to whether or not the Stars are okay with settling for a player like Radek Faska or Brendan Gaunce, other top center prospects likely to be available for the Stars at #13.
Should the Stars go for Alexander Galchenyuk? Would you be willing to give up Brenden Morrow? Should they wait until #13 and take the top center prospect available? Or should they instead focus on drafting more defenseman? Let us know.
You can follow me at @AndrewMonrreal.
Tags: Alexander Galchenyuk Brendan Gaunce Brenden Morrow Jack Campbell Jamie Benn Jamie Oleksiak Joffrey Lupul John Tavares Kari Lehtonen Mike Ribeiro Mikhail Grabovski Mikhail Grigorenko Nail Yakupov Patrik Nemeth Phil Kessel Radek Faska Richard Bachman Ryan Murray Toronto Maple Leafs