Stan Galiev isn’t much different of a hockey player this week than last. He’s still a 19-year-old wing with speed and a lot of potential.
But now he’s got a new contract — a three-year, entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals that will be worth $550,000 a year at the NHL level — and perhaps even more than that.
“He’s going to apply himself a little differently during rookie camp and regular training camp,” his agent, Mark Gandler, said Wednesday. “When he goes back to junior, he has a different purpose to his game — he’s honing his physical skills and working on his game rather than blindly going after points.”
Last season, Galiev helped Saint John of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League win the Memorial Cup, an experience that helped his psyche and hockey skills. The plan is for him to go back to the QMJHL next season, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try to make the Caps at camp next month.
“I want to compete every day, and I’m looking forward to this camp and I’m trying to be ready for it,” Galiev said. “I want to show them the best of my game.”
Galiev had an impressive 37 goals and 28 assists last regular season and 10 goals and 17 assists in the playoffs. But the Caps told him to bulk up and add 10 pounds — so he did. Already possessing speed, Galiev said getting stronger is his priority. He has been skating with the likes of center Matt Hendricks and defensemen Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson lately — to have fun and train.
Getting a deal done now rather than next summer provides Galiev and the Caps with some security well ahead of the deadline to sign the 2010 third-round pick. He could be ticketed to play with the Hershey Bears of the AHL in the 2012-13 season — or even be in Washington — but Gandler said the contract and Galiev’s renewed “purpose” should help all around.
“The junior team does not need points — they need leadership and they need for every player on the team to be involved,” he said. “That’s the skills of a professional hockey player to involve everyone on the ice and not just go after points.”