Why Brendan is Better than Brad

Gallagher lays a solid check on Chara AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson

Gallagher lays a solid check on Chara
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson

It has come to my attention that some people actually believe Brad Marchand is a better hockey player than Brendan Gallagher- that claim is absolutely laughable. Brendan is a tremendous hockey player, size aside, Gally gives 110% every single game. In order for Marchand to be BETTER than Gallagher, he would have to be even more tremendous; but unsurprisingly, he’s not.

It’s not hard to see why many compare the two feisty combatants when you look at their size and style of game they both play. Each player is 5 feet, 9 inches tall, but Brad is 3 pounds heavier than Brendan’s listed 180lbs. Both players skate similar styles and although they shoot opposite sides, if you watch, they each handle the puck almost identically. While it’s quite obvious each player loves to annoy their opponents, it’s also equally as obvious that only one of these guys knows where to draw the line.

In junior, there really is no comparison, Brendan blows Brad out of the water. Other than Marchand’s unreal playoff performance back in ’07 for the Val d’Or Foreurs when he potted 16 goals along with 24 assists in 20 games. In four QMJHL seasons, playing for 3 teams, Marchand never reached more than 33 goals or 80 points. In comparison, Brendan had three 40-goal seasons all with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Neither player were strangers to the penalty box in Junior, but surprisingly it was Brendan who collected more PIMs (Gallagher-359, Marchand-319). It is worth noting however that Brad represented Canada twice in ’07-’08 and brought home two Gold medals, and also has a Stanley Cup ring as part of the 2011 Bruins Championship Team. Brendan has yet to raise Lord Stanley’s Mug but won a Bronze Medal for Canada in 2012.

Now of course it’s not easy to compare these player’s professional careers because Gallagher has yet to even play 75 NHL games, but what we can do is compare each player for those first 74 games. Before you wonder where I got these numbers, I took to NHL.com and counted stats from each of their 1st 74 NHL games (yes it took a while).

Brad Marchand: In part of two NHL seasons during 2009-11, Brad would play 20 games as a call up in 09-10 and then 77 in the next year being his rookie season (I took stats from his first 54 in 2010-11). Marchand’s first 74 NHL game numbers: 16 Goals, 16 Assists, 52 Penalty Minutes, one Power Play Goal, 4 Shorthanded Goals, 0 Game Winning Goals, 131 Shots, 0.12% Shooting, along with a Plus- 16 rating. I also took liberties in counting his stats vs the Habs during those games, they are: 6 Games Played, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 4 Penalty Minutes, 0 Special Teams Goals, 8 shots, 0.13% Shooting, along with a Plus- 2 rating.

Are these statistics telling? Well they show that Brad had a ‘slow’ start in his first 74 career games, and was basically a non-factor in those heated rivalry tilts against the Habs. Obviously Brad has become a more predominant player in his role with the Bruins over his last few seasons, but most teams around the league recognize him as a dirty player and the biggest diver in the NHL.

Brendan Gallagher: Even though his rookie campaign was cut short to only 44 games during the lockout shortened season, Brendan was named a Calder Trophy Finalist. For Gallagher who has yet to play his 75th NHL game, his stats are better than the likes of Steven Stamkos,Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash and Eric Staal. His first 74 NHL stats: 24 Goals, 20 Assists, 53 Penalty Minutes, 7 PowerPlay Goals, 0 Shorthanded Goals, 3 Game Winning Goals, 209 Shots, 0.11% Shooting, along with a Plus- 17 rating. In 5 career games vs Boston, Gallagher produced these numbers: 1 Goal, 3 Assists, 4 Penalty Minutes, 0 Special Teams Goals, 13 shot, 0.08% Shooting,  to go along with a Plus 3 rating. And how can one forget about his shootout winner vs the Bruins last year. It is also worth noting that Gallagher has a couple NHL fights, compared to Brad who didn’t fight until after his first 74 games.

Are these stats telling? One can only assume with such a small sample of games that Gallagher has played in, but regardless of statistics, opposing teams know how dangerous Brendan Gallagher is on the ice, be it by crashing the net, talking trash or simply by outworking everyone taking part in the game. Gallagher so far in his young career has cemented himself as an unsung hero in Montreal, rarely getting the credit he deserves even though he is a player who never takes a shift, nor a game off. He should be sponsored by Energizer Batteries because all he does is “Keep Going”.

Who would you take? It’s quite comical when “Insiders” and “Professionals” make claims that Brad Marchand should make team Canada at the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and yet don’t even mention the name Brendan Gallagher. Without even looking at their past years and what they have each accomplished, when you study their numbers for this early season, you can easily see who the better player is currently. No I am not some amateur writer who is biased towards his team like fellow writers and analysts Felger and Edwards; on the contrary. I take their stats and show you how they compare, but I also watch each player and see how valuable they are to their team. Not sure how valuable you are to your team when you are constantly in the box or suspended. Gallagher is leaps and bounds more consistent than Marchand. One player is dirty and one is not. There is no comparison here, Gallagher is the better player. End of discussion.

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