Not long ago, Stan Galiev ranked among the Capitals’ top prospects. After a rough start to his pro career, however, questions arose that dinged his status among the publications that evaluate young players.
Expected to be a key contributor at AHL Hershey last season, Galiev was instead demoted to ECHL Reading in November. There he found his stride with 23 goals and 24 assists in 46 games. In the Kelly Cup playoffs Galiev added four goals and seven assists in 10 games to help the Royals win the championship.
So was that a good season or a disappointing one for a player who was a third-round pick by the Caps in 2010? It depends on where you stand.
Galiev dropped to No. 7 on Washington’s prospect list in The Hockey News this past March. That’s a list that relies on input from the team’s own talent evaluators and then uses opinions from a large panel of outside scouts to verify it. These are people intimately familiar with prospects’ strengths and weaknesses.
At 6-foot-1, 187 pounds, it was always going to be a physical adjustment for Galiev at the pro level. He isn’t exactly Tom Wilson here. That was an issue at Hershey, where Galiev managed just one point – an assist – in 17 games. Entering last season, a best-case scenario was holding a spot with the Bears for the entire year. That didn’t happen.
But Galiev has been a fixture in the organization for a while now, attending multiple development camps, starring on a high-profile junior team in Saint John, which won the prestigious Memorial Cup in 2011 and returned to that tournament in 2012. It’s easy to forget he still won’t turn 22 until Jan. 17. But there’s also no question the organization is anxious to see if Galiev is ready for a full-time AHL role. Will all that ice time at Reading and another offseason of training allow him to take that next step?