PITTSBURGH — Throughout the day on the floor, there was speculation that the Edmonton Oilers might do the unthinkable and pass on a certain winger from Sarnia, and that the consensus Number One overall pick would somehow land in Montreal's hands.
Eventually, logic won out, and after the Columbus Blue Jackets took Ryan Murray with their second-overall selection, it opened the door for Montreal to take Alex Galchenyuk with the third overall pick.
Galchenyuk, overall a risky selection for the Habs, seeing as he played just eight games last year including playoffs, is a very skilled offensive centreman who had 83 points in just 62 games with the Sting last season, before missing almost the entire 2012 campaign with a knee injury.
Prior to the knee injury, Galchenyuk's skating showed anywhere from above-average to plus with significant improvement over the last year or two. His top speed is impressive and can certainly back defensemen up. With a major knee surgery lingering over him, though, what was once a strength of his game may be in question, but when he came back at the end of the season there seemed to be no lingering effects in that area. Galchenyuk's true strengths lie in his puck skills, vision, and overall possession ability.
So there you have it. In our mock draft, we had the Canadiens drafting Mikhail Grigorenko, who was left on the board as new general manager Marc Bergevin went the OHL route and drafted a player a little closer to home.
Galchenyuk, which questions are raised about his Russian heritage, was born in Milwaukee, WI and competed for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka championship last year.
Red Flags: Grigorenko tore an ACL in the fall, and sat out the entire season save six OHL playoff games and two games at the end of the regular season. He was pretty well left off of NHL rankings for the first half of the season, but the scouts caught his eye towards the end of the year after his return.
If Grigorenko was the risky pick mentally for the Canadiens, Galchenyuk is the physical mystery, but he has the tools to be a top NHL centreman someday.