From flash to flop, whatever happened to Alex Galchenyuk?

Alex Galchenyuk is now a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organisation. PHOTO BY ERROL MCGIHON /Postmedia Network

Alex Galchenyuk is now a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organisation. PHOTO BY ERROL MCGIHON /Postmedia Network

Don Brennan Edmonton Sun

What do Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk and Tony DeAngelo have in common?

Quite a bit.

They were teammates with the Sarnia Sting in the 2011-12 season. They were first-round NHL picks — Yakupov No. 1 (Oilers, 2012) and Galchenyuk No. 3 (Canadiens, 2012), DeAngelo 19th (Lightning, 2014).

And, for various reasons, they’ve never been able to get comfortable in an NHL jersey.

DeAngelo will have another chance. There’s still hope for him.

But Yakupov, who had 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games to finishing fifth in Calder Trophy voting in the 2012-13 season, never progressed from there. After four seasons with the Oilers, one with the Blues and one with the Avalanche, he has gone home to the KHL, never to return.

Galchenyuk finished ninth in Calder voting that same season. But his best was yet to come.

In his third year with the Habs, he scored 20 goals. In his fourth he scored 30. That’s a big number. If you’re scoring 30 times in the NHL, you’re doing something right.

Nikita Kucherov also had 30 in 2012-13, while yet another Russian by the name of Alex Ovechkin led the league with 50.

But what has happened to Galchenyuk since then? How did he go from doing so much right, playing for Michel Therrien in Montreal, to doing so much wrong.

Hidden beneath the offensive talent, he has wrinkles others think they can iron out. But while the worst team in the NHL gave him a chance this season — and Galchenyuk was grateful, “hungry” and “motivated” — he lasted eight games with Ottawa before GM Pierre Dorion had to get rid of him.

On his way to the next team, the Carolina Hurricanes, Galchenyuk was traded again, this time to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs mark his seventh NHL pit stop, but also his sixth in his last three years. The NHL record, held by Mike “Suitcase” Sillinger, is 12 teams.

Maybe Galchenyuk will finally find a home with the Leafs. And maybe he never even dresses in their blue and white.

Since the NHL amateur draft became the NHL entry draft in 1979, only four No. 3 overall picks have played fewer games than Galchenyuk’s 557 — not counting, of course, the more recent years.

They are: Neil Brady (Devils, 1986), who played 89 games and produced a memorable moment in Ottawa; Alexandr Svitov (Lightning, 2001), who played 179 games; Cam Barker (Blackhawks, 2004), who played 310 games and Erik Gudbranson (Panthers, 2010) who has played 534, and counting.

None of them showed Galchenyuk’s promise, none of them had 30 goals in their career, let alone a season.

Whatever happened to Alex Galchenyuk?

From flash to flop, he has to be the most disappointing No. 3 pick ever — if only because the others never had his talent to waste.

STARTS AND STOPS

If whatever forced Connor McDavid to leave Tuesday’s practice early isn’t too serious, the Oilers captain can tie a Sidney Crosby mark by picking up his 500th point in his 369th game when Edmonton plays host to Winnipeg on Wednesday. The seven players who didn’t need as many to reach the 500-plateau are: Wayne Gretzky (234 games), Mario Lemieux (287), Peter Stastny (322), Mike Bossy (349), Eric Lindros (352), Jari Kurri (356) and Bryan Trottier (362) … From the same draft that saw Aaron Ekblad selected first and Leon Draisaitl picked third are two players among the top six choices who could be had by any team now for the right price — and presumably not a steep one at that. Sam Bennett and Jake Virtanen, a pair of 24-year-olds who were taken fourth and sixth by the Canucks and Flames, both possess a combination of skill and talent. They need a fresh start. If I was the GM of a rebuilding team, one or both of them would be getting it in my town …

BETWEEN PERIODS

It’s not just bizarre that the Coyotes and Blues became the first two teams to face each other in more than four consecutive regular season games ever, it’s that they played seven in a row and the Coyotes won the series, 4-2-1. Would they ever beat the Blues in a best-of-seven in the playoffs?

BAR DOWN

After 850 NHL games, former first-rounder Michael Frolik is expected to make his AHL debut with the Laval Rocket this week, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie. The 33-year-old Czech last played for a Quebec-based team with the Rimouski Oceanic from 2006-2008, a couple of seasons after the Crosby kid … Here’s an “attaboy” to Buddy Robinson, who on Monday played his first game of the season with the Flames. It consisted of four shifts covering 3:17 of ice time, but just cracking the line up was an accomplishment for the 29-year-old native of New Jersey. Robinson, a 6-foot-6, 232-pounder who can fly, has his shortcomings, but perseverance isn’t one of them. From his first game as a pro for Binghamton in the AHL nine seasons ago, he has now played 13 NHL games, including five with last season’s Flames, three for Ottawa in 2015-16 and four more with the same team the following season.

ON THIS DATE

Exactly 42 years ago, Ken Dryden posted his 46th and last regular season shutout in a 31-save blanking of the Capitals. The victory gave Dryden a 22-1-4 record over a 27-game span. He went on to finish the season with playoff series wins over the Maple Leafs (4-0), Bruins (4-3) and Rangers (4-1) before retiring at the age of 31 with his sixth Cup ring in his incredible eight-season career … Exactly 28 years ago, Wayne Gretzky had the 91st five-point night of his career in a 10-5 win over the Minnesota North Stars … Exactly 27 years ago Mike Ricci tied a franchise record with five goals in the Quebec Nordiques’ 8-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Mats Sundin had the other five-goal night in Nords history on Mar. 5, 1992 … Among those celebrating birthdays in the hockey world are Jim Rutherford (72), Lindy Ruff (61), Darren Pang (57), Luc Robitaille (55), Vinny Prospal (46), Todd Harvey (46), Drew Miller (37), Frolik (33), Sebastian Aho (25), Adam Fox (23) and Max Jones (23).

POINT BLANK

For the record, I’m on Katie Strang’s side in her conflict with the Coyotes because A) I would always back another proven, veteran PHWA member over an NHL team and B) because she’s been excellent at her job a lot longer than this sorry franchise, which has barely survived 23 seasons of buffoonery …