With Tom Wilson out with a head injury, the Washington Capitals recalled forward Stan Galiev Tuesday morning from the Hershey Bears. It’s the first time the 23-year-old Russian, drafted in 2010, has ever been promoted to the NHL. For the longest time, it seemed like Galiev, struggling with injuries and system play, was destined to be a top prospect who flamed out. Instead, according to Barry Trotz, Galiev will likely get a uniform Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins after lighting up the AHL this season.
Galiev first found out about the news Monday afternoon, while at a local Hershey airfield. According to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, Bears defenseman Mike Moore recently received his pilot’s license and wanted to fly some friends around. While he was there, Galiev received the dream call. He arrived in DC around 9pm. One of the first people Galiev called was his mother. She cried.
Photo: Harry How
“When I was walking to get photographed in the Washington sweater, [Caps first-round draft pick Evgeny Kuznetsov] screamed ‘Cool jersey!,'” Galiev said. “I was happy to end up with Washington, but not only because I was friends with Kuznetsov. I always liked the way the team played, especially with Ovechkin, Semin, Fedorov… now I dream about playing for the big club myself!”
Galiev also revealed that he’s been getting advice from his fellow Caps comrades all season long – despite being in a different state.
“[Alex Ovechkin] gives me a lot of good advice that I listen to,” Galiev said. “Not everyone gets advice from a player who scores 50 goals a season. During the season we write to each other, ask how is it going. Sometimes I just write Sasha, Zhenya Kuznetsov, or Dima Orlov to congratulate them on a win.”
Galiev forced his way onto the Caps roster after being promoted to Hershey’s first-line full-time in January. Despite past troubles playing defense and forechecking, Galiev has become a talented player with and without the puck, able to generate time and space with his next-level stick handling ability. Gally, as his teammates call him, has scored 25 goals. 15 of those tallies have come on the power play where Galiev plays in the same spot that Ovechkin occupies in Washington. Galiev had a stretch of eight goals in eight games during December.
Before going pointless for eight straight games in March, Galiev had an insane 41-game stretch during which he posted 21 goals, 40 points and 129 shots on goal. His 165 SOG on the year are 37th in the AHL and third on the team, 11 behind Casey Wellman and one behind Chris Brown. He did this despite playing on the fourth line and having limited minutes early on in the season.
Since his cool stretch in March ended, Galiev has three points in four games.
Here are a few of Galiev’s goals this year. Make sure to check out this amazing tally from the preseason too.
While the goals are pretty, this story is about hard work and dedication. Something not lost on The Patriot-News’ Tim Leone and Galiev’s former teammate Patrick Wellar.
Galiev recall=one of those days in sports that put a smile on your face. Kid has worked hard, paid dues and delivered a breakout season.
— Tim Leone (@timleone) April 7, 2015
— Pat Wellar (@pwellar33) April 7, 2015
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