The enduring image Montreal Canadiens fans have of Brendan Gallagher is him parked in front of the net battling with the opposing goalie and defencemen, getting crosschecked and rag dolled only to bounce back up with a big smile on his face. However, Habs fans will soon be seeing double as forward Andrew Shaw will be making his debut this fall after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks, where he will crashing creases and getting in the opposition’s face much like Gallagher.
"We can annoy people together, I guess" – Andrew Shaw on playing on same team as Brendan Gallagher
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 25, 2016
Both players share a lot of similarities. They are former fifth round picks and they aren’t very big. Gallagher clocks in at 5’9″ and Shaw at 5’11”. They both excel at going to the undesirable areas of the ice such as in front of the net or battling it out in the corners. Another gift they share is the ability to annoy the heck out of the opposition as it is a common sight to see them right in the middle of the chaos which is an advantage and a detriment. They goad teams into taking penalties but sometimes their overzealous play crosses the line into penalties or goals being called back.
Habs GM Marc Bergevin compared Andrew Shaw to Brendan Gallagher: "they are guys who will drag you into the fight." Loves Shaw's character
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 25, 2016
Similar but Not the Same
The biggest difference between Gallagher and Shaw is the amount of offense they put up. Gallagher is the far superior player offensively as he has 156 points in 260 career games compared to Shaw’s 137 points in 322 games. Gallagher has progressively gotten better offensively and is a possession driver for Montreal. Shaw isn’t as gifted in this department though he has shown the ability to play with elite linemates as displayed by playing with Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane over the years in Chicago.
Gallagher and Shaw are the kinds of players teams need. They thrive in chaos especially during the playoffs as Gallagher’s game translates well in the postseason and Shaw played a big part in the last two Stanley Cup championships for Chicago. It has become more apparent that the Habs need more “gamers”, the kind of players who give their all every shift, especially in pressure-packed situations. Gallagher is a fan favourite in Montreal and has been since he broke into the league in 2013. It’s a similar story with Shaw as he quickly captured the hearts of Chicago fans with his play and there is no doubt many Blackhawks fans were sad to see him go.
As much as the Habs missed Carey Price last season, Gallagher’s absence had a negative impact on the team. Without Gallagher, the Habs missed his offence as well his ability to create energy and go to the dirty areas of the ice. When the Habs are flat, they can always count on Gallagher to give a full effort and inject some life into the game. Shaw did the same thing in Chicago where he was relied upon to bring a spark. The Habs now have double the trouble with Gallagher and Shaw as opposing teams will have their hands full with two of the most annoying players in the game.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Ryerson University. I am a freelance journalist and a Montreal Canadiens writer for The Hockey Writers. I previously wrote for Simcoe.com and Last Word on Sports as well as interned at TSN.