Alex Galchenyuk – the Canadiens first-round choice, third overall, in the draft last week – is wearing number 27 at the team’s development camp, which begins Thursday at the training complex in Brossard.
Top second-round (33rd overall) choice Sebastian Collberg, a slick Swedish forward, will wear number 47.
Rugged defenceman Dalton Thrower, 51st overall in the draft’s second round, will wear 59.
Jaro Halak’s 41 will be worn by goaltender Étienne Marcoux, who’s in camp on a tryout.
Galchenyuk was the focus of attention for the midday media opportunity, which drew hordes slightly less numerous than what the big team faces during the regular season.
The kid is very well-spoken, handling all the questions with aplomb.
Galchenyuk has piercing blue-gray eyes and wears his light brown hair in a buzz-cut. He was wearing a dark gray Lacoste polo, blue khaki shorts and stylish black Converse sneakers, without laces.
Slight of build, Galchenyuk has large hands which he kept in his pockets through most of the interviews.
His nickname, at least among the other prospects: “Gally”.
When asked if he thought he had a shot at making the big club, Galchenyuk said “it’s a long summer” leading up to camp. He plans to fill it by working out at home in Sarnia, concxentrating on skating and speed of execution.
Galchenyuk has posted to Twitter in French, but admitted fellow draftee Charles Hudon wrote it for him. But he plans to gain fluency.
“French doesn’t seem too hard for me,” Galchenyuk said, “and I know the fans appreciate it.”
Galchenyuk last spoke French nine years ago, when his father’s nomadic hockey career took the family to Switzerland. Born in Milwaukee, Galchenyuk has also lived in Italy for four years and Russia for six before moving to Chicago at 15.
“my father worked hard to get me where I am right now,” Galchenyuk said. “I can’t thanks him enough for what I am as a person and a player.”
He said the topics on which he’s questioned most frequently – by the media and by the teams that interviewed him prior to the draft – are his surgically repaired knee and the KHL. Galchenyuk finds the latter queries most irritating.
“I’ve wanted to play in the NHL since I was a year old,” he said. “I’ve never wanted to play in Russia.”
• Marcoux plays junior in Blainville-Boisbriand of the Q. He was 28-9-3 with a 2.71 GAA and a .912 save percentage.
• Jimmy Oligny, another tryout invitee, plays for P.E.I. in the Q and had 165 PiM – a lot of time in the box for a 5’11”, 180-lb forward.