Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Should teams shy away from Alex Galchenyuk due to his ACL reconstruction?

Lots of pundits mention Alex Galchenyuk's knee injury as a factor to consider when evaluating the players slated to go in the top 5 in next June's NHL draft.  People point to Andrei Markov or even Bobby Orr as examples of players who "were never the same" after such injuries.  While every team has to do its due diligence and consider every variable, I think that the injury is given way too much import by analysts, for the following reasons.

1)  It is a first ACL reconstruction for Mr. Galchenyuk, as opposed to Mr. Markov’s second reconstruction in two years, which is way more problematic and has a lower probability of success.  While Andrei has struggled to return, others such as James Wisniewski eventually made a full return from double ACL reconstructions.  Evgeni Malkin has shown no ill effects after his ACL repair, we should look to him as the valid example in this case.
2) Alex Galchenyuk suffered this injury as a 17 year old. Teenagers have a very good prognosis with these surgeries, their ability to recover is much better than an adult in his thirties.
3) Mr. Galchenyuk has already returned to active duty at the end of the Sarnia Sting's season and their playoffs, and showed no complications. The knee was solid and he was skating and moving effectively, with no limits on his icetime.  
If Edmonton and Columbus are scared off by the injury, that's fine.  It will give the Canadiens another option to choose from at the #3 slot when they try to fill the need of a big scoring centreman between he and Mikhail Grigorenko.

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