2020-21 Team: USNTDP Juniors (USHL) #24
Date of Birth: March 6, 2003
Place of Birth: Clarkston, MI, USA
Ht: 6-foot Wt: 190 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
A product of the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP), and one of the many 2021 NHL Draft-eligible prospects on his team’s blue line, Ty Gallagher has flown under the radar this season, registering little ice-time and playing in more conservative roles. He barely earned himself any power play time; with Luke Hughes and Sean Behrens on the team, it cannot be helped. As a result, Gallagher only has 12 points in 25 United States Hockey League (USHL) games, and is only ranked on one board so far, as DobberProspects has him in the early third round at 69th overall. He is also entirely absent from both Baracchini’s top 100 of March and Zator’s top 100 of April.
At first glance, Gallagher seems like just another junior-level, bottom-pair defender without any clear standouts to his game. However, anyone who watches a Ty Gallagher shift will notice one constant: discipline. He does not cut corners and always tries to go the extra mile. His lack of standout tools and his lack of consistency might be a detractor to scouts, but he is decent at everything: rush neutralizations, box-outs, stick checking, body checking, breakout passes, and defensive zone activations are all tools he uses to play a sound, almost mechanical game in his own zone.
His processing level is surprisingly good, as he quickly responds to pressure in a way that prolongs offensive sequences and prevents turnovers. He could show more consistency in his passing game, as he will occasionally cause an avoidable icing by outright missing his breakout pass.
Gallagher also has very good habits in the offensive zone; on low-to-high plays, he hangs on to the puck for a second to time the shot with the screen or to make a smart pass to a teammate in a better position. He shows enough mobility to exploit space in the offensive zone but seems uncomfortable walking the blue line. He plays on his ability to anticipate opposing rush patterns and set plays to break down the sequence and generate loose pucks with a great active stick while showing enough intelligence to pick his moments while joining the rush. If the rush breaks down, he gets back immediately, regaining the defensive blue line to be ready to counter the ensuing entry attempt.
If Gallagher can work on his consistency, his occasional breakout inefficiencies, and filling out his frame to be even more solid around the net, he could become a very reliable NHL defenseman, with the ability to contribute on both special teams and on either side of the ice.
Ty Gallagher – NHL Draft Projection
Gallagher’s offensive upside is quite limited, as his lack of elite skating or vision inside the offensive zone will likely prevent him from becoming a top-pairing, 40-point defenseman. On the other hand, his great defensive capabilities, his mental quickness and his shooting prowess should carry into higher levels, and he could become a decent asset on any blue line if he manages to bring consistency to his game. Such a player is usually drafted in the mid-second round, going into the early third. However, Gallagher’s absence from so many lists so far could result in a drastic drop down the draft board.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
There is still one way Gallagher can raise his stock heading into the 2021 NHL Draft, as he is currently playing for Team USA in the U18 Worlds, a tournament that has already drawn the eyes of countless scouts eager to watch prospects live instead of through video. He scored two goals on April 27th against the Germans and played an overall solid game. If he continues to perform at the tournament and build his name, expect to see him off the board within the first three rounds.
“Ty Gallagher will be one of the biggest trending players in the 2021 NHL Draft scene in the next seven months” – The Scouting News
“Gallagher is a defenseman known for having a high-end offensive game in combination with a sound defensive presence.” – Shaun Richardson, FC Hockey
- Stick checking
- Offensive game
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- General consistency
- Passing accuracy on breakouts
- Physical strength
Gallagher’s potential at the NHL level will mostly depend on his ability to bring what he can on a game-to-game basis. At his best, he’s a solid, puck-moving defenseman suited to the modern NHL game. At his worst, he single-handedly keeps the puck in his own zone for his entire shift. He will need to find the consistency expected from NHL defensemen, and bulking up should help in that regard.
Gallagher’s physical development should play a massive role in maximizing his consistency, as he will lose fewer battles and spend more time on the front foot. As he is right now, he’s heading towards a career as a bottom-pair defenseman, but with the right development staff, he could flourish and become one of this year’s steals.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 6/10, Defense – 7/10
In 2019-20, Gallagher played for Team USA in the U17 World Hockey Challenge, as the team made its way to the finals and earned a silver medal. He is also a two-time champion of the High Performance Hockey League, once at the U16 level in 2018-2019 as an underager and another time at the U14 level the year before, both times with the Compuware youth development program in Plymouth, Michigan.