It’s fitting that we go from Brian Gionta to Brendan Gallagher. Both smaller forwards who leave it all on the ice. Gallagher had a very good sophomore season and very good playoffs as he grows into a very good NHL player.
STATS: 81 Games | 19 G-22 A = 41 P | 73 PIM | +4 | 52.0% Corsi | 5.0 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 17 games | 4 G-7 A = 11 P | 6 PIM | E | 49.8% Corsi
STORY: Brendan Gallagher was the best forward on the team when it came to even strength possession. He was also able to keep his scoring pace from last season and even showed more in the playoffs.
Gallagher plays his game on the edge and always keep smiling. He is a player that gets under every other team’s skin but is a great player to have on your side.
When Michel Therrien wanted to spark Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, he put Gallagher on that line. He was up to the challenge. He didn’t score many goals but forechecked and made some key passes to lead the other two.
His pass while falling behind his back to Pacioretty in Game 5, was incredible and shows that Gallagher has some elite skill to go with his fantastic work ethic.
Gallagher without a doubt earned the first A I’m giving out. There is no one who was always on their game more than Gallagher. If every player worked like him, they would be unstoppable.
He doesn’t always show up on the scoresheet, but he always impacts the game. If you don’t like Gallagher – even if you cheer for an opposing team – you don’t like hockey. Whether it’s him standing up to Zdeno Chara or laughing while being mauled in front, Gallagher brings it.
FUTURE: Gallagher is in the final year of his entry-level contract and should be up for a nice pay day after this season. Gallagher had a spot on the first line as the playoffs came to an end.
However, I’m not sure that is where they want Gallagher to be long-term. I think they want another key player on that line with Pacioretty and Desharnais and have Gallagher in a secondary role with Tomas Plekanec or even Lars Eller.
No matter what happens, the Canadiens can count on Gallagher to be active no matter where he lines up and will probably continue to be used as a catalyst and trouble maker.