For Sarnia Sting forward Alex Galchenyuk, the 2012 NHL Draft brings a lot of uncertainty. After a 2010-11 season in which he scored 83 points (31 goals, 52 assists) in just 68 games with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, the 6’1”, 198-pound Galchenyuk injured his knee during the 2011-12 preseason, and only returned to play two games at the end of the season.
Born in Milwaukee, WI while his father was playing in the International Hockey League, Galchenyuk spent much of his childhood in Russia. Rightfully claiming to be from all over the world (his father also played in Germany, Italy and Switzerland), the 18-year-old represented the U.S. in international play at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Galchenyuk took the time to chat with NewYorkIslanders.com about the importance of the draft combine, recovering from his injury and his relationship with junior teammate and top-ranked prospect Nail Yakupov.
NewYorkIslanders.com: How would you describe your playing style?
Alex Galchenyuk: I think I’m a playmaking center that plays at every end of the ice. I think I’m a two-way center also. I’m really competitive and I think that brings an edge to my game.
NYI: How frustrating was it getting injured before last season even started?
AG: It was real frustrating at the beginning, but then I took it real positively. I mean, if you’re just real frustrated, I don’t think you can have a chance to come back, feeling bad about yourself all the time. Overall, I was proud of myself, and I came back and played a couple of games, so that was good.
Five things to know about Alex Galchenyuk
1. Galchenyuk suffered a knee injury during the 2011-12 pre-season, limiting him to just two regular-season games.
2. He played with fellow draft prospect, Nail Yakupov, on the OHL’s Sarnia Sting.
3. He was born in Milwaukee while his father, Alex Sr., was playing for the IHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.
4. He has traveled all over the world for hockey and has lived in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Russia.
5. He speaks three languages: English, Russian and Italian
NYI: Because of the speculation following your injury, did you come to the combine with something to prove to everybody?
AG: Yeah. First of all in interviews, I wanted to make sure they knew what kind of person I am, with my personality and my character. At the combine, obviously I wanted to show them that my knee is 100-percent and I’m ready to go.
NYI: Playing on the Sarnia Sting with top-ranked prospect Nail Yakupov, do you guys challenge each other? What is that relationship like?
AG: We’re both competitive people. We don’t challenge against each other, as far as the rankings or any of that stuff. We just try to make each other better.
NYI: What kind of expectations do you have for the draft?
AG: I don’t know. I just think overall it will be a really exciting day for me and for my family. I don’t know what to expect.
NYI: Following the combine, how do you feel you are physically, and what are you going to work on this summer?
AG: I want to work on everything. In the gym, I want to keep getting stronger and faster. Summer just started, so I’m just beginning to do my offseason work. I want to get faster and quicker, and I think that will help me play in the NHL.
GET TO KNOW JACOB TROUBA | GET TO KNOW CODY CECI | DRAFT CENTRAL ARCHIVE