If the Montreal Canadiens are playing and there is a scrum in front of the net, chances are Brendan Gallagher is in the middle of it with a big smile on his face and an opponent wanting to get a piece of him. Everyone is aware of Gallagher’s small stature at 5′ 9″ and 182 LBS (according to NHL.com) and his willingness to go to the net. But the underrated Gallagher is more than the kid who camps out in the crease every game.
This season, Gallagher had 47 points in 82 games which doesn’t seem like anything special on the surface. But he put up 24 goals on an offensively starved team and improved his point totals from last year. He is one of the team’s best puck possession players, which is a feat in itself considering how poor Montreal is in that area. He is currently the all time leading scorer of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants where he scored over 40 goals in three out of his four seasons there. Offensive production from junior doesn’t always translate to the NHL but for Gallagher, his style of play did and he is currently the top right winger on Montreal.
However, Gallagher had the same amount of points in the regular season as Marian Gaborik, Ryan Kesler and Jaromir Jagr and managed to play all 82 games. Gallagher’s reputation for crashing the net will be hard to break but with his work ethic and more ice time, there is no reason that he shouldn’t be able to score 30 goals or 50 points. While he doesn’t have the sky high potential of fellow Hab Alex Galchenyuk, Gallagher has managed to outscore his more highly touted teammate the past three seasons. Gallagher has yet to hit his prime and there might be some untapped potential left with him.
Look out for Brendan Gallagher
When it comes to crashing the net, there is no better player than Gallagher. It is a fine line to walk when standing in the blue paint without getting a goalie interference call but Gallagher has improved that aspect a lot since last season. He gets tossed around like a rag doll by the opposition but always comes back for more. His work ethic is off the charts as he seemingly never takes a shift off and is determined to make a difference every game. It isn’t easy to do what Gallagher does game in and game out being whacked and cross checked at every turn.
Gallagher may not be the biggest or most talented player but he brings a lot of good things to the table besides crashing the net every game. He has shown to be more than capable of putting up points and his defensive game has improved since his rookie year. To reward him for his hard work, Marc Bergevin signed Gallagher to a six-year $22.5 million dollar deal. What is impressive about it is unlike the other core members of the Habs, Gallagher will go straight from his entry-level contract to the new deal. Carey Price, PK Subban and Max Pacioretty didn’t even do that. Not bad for a kid who went in the fifth round.