Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk, a highly-touted 2012 draft prospect from the Ontario Hockey League, will be sidelined indefinitely after the team announced on Monday he'll undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Galchenyuk, who was second among OHL rookies with 83 points, including 31 goals, in 2010-11, had yet to suit up this season for the Sting after suffering his injury in a preseason game against the Windsor Spitfires on Sept. 16.
The big question now is whether or not Galchenyuk's absence will hurt his draft status in June.
"One element for Galchenyuk is the fact he played last year and, going into this season, he was already recognized as one of the top prospects," Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, told NHL.com. "I think most of the teams are pretty comfortable in knowing the type of player they'll be getting. Obviously, you'd like to see him play during his draft year, but the scouts and general managers are going to be more concerned with how the surgery went, what type of surgery it was and how the recovery process is going along."
There's little doubt Galchenyuk will be in high demand at the NHL Scouting Combine in May.
"Where he goes in the draft is going to depend how well he recovers from this," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, who specializes in OHL players, told NHL.com. "It's going to make the combine that much more important when the doctors look at him. My guess is he'll bring the MRI results to the combine in order to have doctors make their evaluations.
"As long as it's not career-ending, I really can't see it affecting him that much. He's too good a player."
The 6-foot, 198-pound Galchenyuk was born in Milwaukee but is of Russian decent -- his father, Alexander, spent five of his 22 professional seasons playing in the U.S. He was the first pick of the 2010 OHL draft, and had 2 goals and 2 assists in four games for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka
Memorial Tournament. He also participated in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Galchenyuk is usually working a line with another high-end prospect in Sarnia, Nail Yakupov.
"Alex has outstanding playmaking ability; he was constantly getting it to Yakupov," Edwards said. "During the development camp he participated in over the summer, he made his linemates better. He has great hockey sense."
Sarnia Sting General Manager Jacques Beaulieu released the following statement:
“Unfortunately injuries like this are a part of the game. Our thoughts are solely with Alex at this time as this was very difficult news to receive. We will be providing Alex with the best care possible as he begins his rehab towards getting back on the ice. We are very hopeful Alex will be back in the lineup towards the end of the regular season.”
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale