A player’s first professional season of hockey can determine how quickly that player can transition to the NHL, or become a big part of an AHL squad. Stanislav Galiev, Washington Capitals third round selection in the 2010 NHL entry drafted has reached that point this year, playing his first pro season for the Hershey Bears of the AHL.
Gailev, 20, has spent the last three seasons in the QMJHL, playing for the Saint John Sea Dogs. The 20 year old right winger recorded 65 goals and 79 assists in his three years with the Sea Dogs, performing at an almost point per game pace, with 144 points in 151 games. He led Saint John to a Memorial Cup championship in the 2010-2011 campaign, his second with the Sea Dogs, totaling 65 points in 64 regular season games. He was a key contributor during the playoffs that year as well, posting an outstanding 27 points in 19 playoff games.
The Moscow native couldn’t play a full season for St. John last season due to injury, but contributed 13 goals and six assists in 20 regular season games. His discipline and ability to stay out of the penalty box improved every year with the Sea Dogs, decreasing from 14 in his first season, to 12 PIM in the 2011-2012 season and only six PIM last season.
He’s come into this season as one of the youngest players on this year’s Hershey Bears squad, but has found his way into the lineup in all of Hershey’s four regular season contests. Gailev has earned a steady role on the Bears’ third line, teaming up with Ryan Stoa at left wing and another Capitals prospect, Mattias Sjogren at center. Following the injury to first linter center, Ryan Potulny, Gailev and Stoa played alongside former Providence Bruins center, Zach Hamill.
Watching him play, many can see the talent Washington’s brass saw when drafting him. Gailev has a fast wrist shot and one of the quickest releases on his shot of any players on the Bears’ roster, let alone the vast talent in the AHL. He’s had some trouble staying out of the penalty box in the early part of the season thus far, totaling six PIM in four regular season games. But, he’s noticeable on the ice whenever he has the puck, firing six shots on goal in Hershey’s first four games. If he can get bigger as he progresses and gains experience at the professional level, Gailev could develop into a future third line forward role and possibly jump up to the second in the NHL at some point in his career.
“In the preseason and probably in the first two regular season games we’ve seen glimpses,” said Hershey Bears coach, Mark French following Hershey’s fourth regular season game. “I think we’ve been encouraged that tonight we probably saw more glimpses than we have seen of his skill level, he’s got a very elite release, he gets the puck to the net very quickly. He skates very well for a guy who’s going to grow into and be a big man. We like the progression, I think it’s a big jump for him from going from the junior player to playing against men in the American league, but it’s evident by these glimpses that he has the skill level that makes him attractive at the next level.”
Matthew Speck covers the Washington Capitals organization for The Hockey Writers. He provides coverage of both Washington at the NHL level and prospect related content. Matthew also covers local sports for the Lebanon Daily News in Central Pennsylvania. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.