|Galiev skates this past summer in Caps development camp.|
This season for St. John, Galiev was the fourth-leading scorer on his team, tallying 37 goals (one on the power play) and 28 assists for 65 points in 64 games. The left winger also complied an excellent plus-36 rating on the campaign, but that was likely a product of the Sea Dogs' dominance this year: they went 58-7-1 to win the league by 17 points, and had a ridiculous plus-129 goal differential to boot. With their regular season now over, Saint John is the top seed in the QMJHL's President Cup playoffs, which will start for them on March 25th with their series against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Profile: Galiev profiles as a slick, playmaking winger who has excellent puck handling skills and can finish a bit in close. He is very hard to knock off the puck because of his strong hips and wide skating stance, particularly in the corners and along the boards, and displays good ability to move around in tight space while still controlling the puck. He has good size at 6'2", but could certainly benefit from putting on some muscle, he weighs in at only 180 pounds. The young Russian has shown the ability to engage in physical play as well, though he needs to improve that aspect of his game in order to make himself a more complete player. In addition, like most of his fellow Russian wingers, he has some issues in his own zone; though his positional and defensive play is improving to the point where it could be an assett. When he does reach the NHL, he will likely slot in on the second or third line as a forward with some two-way and scoring ability.
Career Notes: Galiev is currently in his third season of playing hockey in North America and his second in the QMJHL. His first year away from Russia, 2008-2009, he played for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League. That season, he scored 29 goals and 64 points in 60 games, which earned him a spot on the USHL's All-Rookie team. The next year, he jumped to major junior with St. John, where he racked up 15 goals and 60 points in 64 games, and was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie team. This year, as you already read, has been his best year with 37 goals for the first-place Sea Dogs. In international competition, he has represented his country once; he won the silver medal with Team Russia during the 2009 Ivan Hlinka tournament. He was invited to and did participate in the Capitals' Summer Development Camp last year.
ETA: 2012-2013. Only 19, Galiev stil has a lot of development in front of him, and hasn't yet been signed to a professional contract which would enable him to play in Hershey. That contract is likely coming after the QMJHL playoffs are completed this spring, which makes it likely that he spends most, if not all, of next season with the Bears. However, because he has already been playing here three years, he will need less time than most normally would in the AHL, and could be called up at some point next year if injuries mount and he shows good growth in his first year as a pro. Despite this potential for growth, because of his inexperience and the depth that the Capitals have at forward next year I don't think that he will have a full-time impact in Washington until the 2012-13 campaign at the earliest.
For information on the Caps' March 24 practice, including injury updates on Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott, click here.
Information from Hockey's Future and the QMJHL were used in this post.