My soapbox to proclaim on hockey, football, politics, life. Spotlighted will be the Montreal Canadiens, and the San Diego Chargers, at least until the Vancouver GlassSmashers' inaugural NFL season.
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Does Alex Galchenyuk play in the NHL in 2012?
Is it possible for Alex Galchenyuk to make the Canadiens out of training camp this season? After all, they're not flush with talent or even mere NHL forwards, especially if an injury or two hit. It's not uncommon to see a high draft pick make the NHL that same year.
The opposing view is that Mr. Galchenyuk, as talented and physically gifted as he is, missed pretty much an entire year last season due to his blown out knee. As such, it sets back his development, since there's no substitute for repetitions when learning skills, whether by playing games or hard practices. If he goes back to junior, he'll get lots of those reps, but the exposure might be more limited on an NHL roster. So the thinking goes that you send him down to the OHL to be the man for one year and gets lots of practices in and lots of game icetime under his belt.
One thing to consider when figuring this out is the very clear statement by Rick Dudley during a radio interview that for him or any player to make the team on his draft year, he has to clearly, decisively win the roster spot outright. In Mr. Dudley’s words, he has to force the team to keep him. Couple that with Marc Bergevin’s statement that a team never regrets leaving a player in the minors too long, but often regrets bringing one up too soon, and it kind of frames the discussion we’re having.
Another consideration is whether the team is very comfortable with the coaching and physio staff they have in Sarnia. What if he gets traded to a Memorial Cup contender and it’s an organization they really don’t have a good read on? Could it be that they may have more confidence if the crown jewel was in Montréal under the watchful eye of Michel Therrien and Dr. Mulder and his support staff?
I’ve floated the idea of easing him into the lineup like the Bruins did with Tyler Séguin, putting him on left wing for a season, but the trial balloon didn’t last very long. I’m not married to the idea, wouldn’t like the kid to be exposed to the shrieks of the media and fans if he was a healthy scratch for a couple of games for example, as Mr. Séguin was, ultimately to his benefit.
So does he progress more in Montréal surrounded by pros with lots of coaching and training staff support, being given achievable assignments and playing third-line minutes on the wing against topflight NHL competition, or in Junior where he’s the #1 centre Top Banana who gets the most minutes and plays the powerplay and kills penalties and takes key faceoffs against softer competition? And in junior, does he get playoff exposure and possible Memorial Cup experience and World Junior experience that he can’t duplicate being babied into the NHL, especially if next season is deemed a development year by the Canadiens and they don’t mind missing the playoffs too much?