The United States was met with heartbreak in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Alex Galchenyuk was barely a prospect at that point, and was only beginning to make an impact for the Sarnia Sting. There wasn’t much talk about where he’d go in the draft two years later, and he wasn’t an important cog in the national team’s future.
A lot can change in four years though.
Galchenyuk was (obviously) selected with the third-overall pick in 2012, and has since cemented himself as one of the best young players in the league, period. Is that good enough for him to be included on America’s roster at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi though?
It could come down to injuries and cold streaks. Derek Stepan was considered by most to be a lock to head overseas when the games began. After a freezing cold start to the year, that’s hardly the case any more. Max Pacioretty and Ryan Callahan have both been taken out by injuries in the early going this year.
If those guys come back and aren’t performing well, could that open the door for Galchenyuk? He has nine points thrugh 12 contests so far and has been one of the most consistent players for the Montreal Canadiens. Galchenyuk has the level of speed and skill that the U.S. will likely try to bring to the ice on a nightly basis, but is also capable of playing a role on a third line. His versatility is outstanding, and at this juncture a player like Stepan should be passed over in favor of Galchenyuk.
If the Olympics were next week, we think that the kid would be going. The Games are still a few months away though, so a lot of things can happen. Still, Galchenyuk has made a strong case to be in Sochi this season, and he’s certainly trending the right way if he’s hoping to be included. And why wouldn’t he be?
The Americans are fired up and looking for revenge after a heartbreaking loss the the Canadians in the Gold Medal game in 2010. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?