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The prideful Canadiens, coming off a miserable season, hope Galchenyuk can one day provide a needed spark to a lethargic offense. The talented center missed all but two games of this past season after he tore a knee ligament.
Galchenyuk, born in the U.S. to Russian parents, is considered a gifted passer. He totaled 31 goals and 52 assists during the 2010-11 season. He already speaks two languages, and joked that he had better start picking up French.
"I think I have classes starting next week," he said with a laugh.
With the top high-flying forwards off the board, teams then went heavy on defense in a draft considered short on offensive star power.
The New York Islanders chose defenseman Griffin Reinhart with the fourth pick, starting a run of seven straight defensemen taken.
Among them was Derrick Pouliot, taken eighth overall. That Pouliot was taken so high wasn't remarkable, it was the team that got the pick to grab him that shook up the night.
The Hurricanes had the eighth selection but things changed quickly when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman walked onto the stage and announced a trade the hometown crowd "might want to hear."
Moments later, Pouliot pulled on a black Pittsburgh jersey.
"Yeah, I was a little surprised," Pouliot said.
Washington ended the run on defensemen, taking center Filip Forsberg with the No. 11 pick. The 17-year-old Forsberg was the youngest player on Team Sweden at the 2012 World Junior championships. Forsberg said he models his game after former NHL star Peter Forsberg, though the two aren't related.
The Buffalo Sabres took center Mikhail Grigorenko, who like Yakupov is from Russia, with the No. 12 selection. The massive 6-foot-3, 200-pound Grigorenko led rookies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in scoring last season, netting 40 goals and adding 45 assists for the Quebec Remparts.
The Staals weren't the only players who made the draft a family affair. The Boston Bruins chose goalie Malcolm Subban with the No. 24 pick. Subban's older brother, P.K., is a forward with the Canadians.
Phoenix drafted forward Henrik Samuelsson at No. 27. Samuelsson's father, Ulf, played 1,080 games in the NHL and won two Stanley Cup titles with Pittsburgh.
The elder Samuelsson received a warm ovation when his face flashed up on the Jumbotron. It likely won't be the same for former NHL player Stephane Matteau, whose son Stefan was taken by the New Jersey Devils with the 29th pick.
Stephane Matteau, playing for the New York Rangers, eliminated the Devils and rookie goalie Martin Brodeur with a double-overtime goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 1994.
Now his son will try to help the franchise that is coming off a Stanley Cup finals loss to the Los Angeles Kings earlier this month.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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