Brendan Gallagher: A Diamond in the Rough
In May of 2010, TSR (The Scouting Report) put out their final NHL Draft rankings before the upcoming draft; listing the top 100 players. Brendan Gallagher sat at 93rd on their list and this is what they wrote about him, “After exploding offensively during the regular season, Gallagher continued his excellent play and proved to be one of the primary catalysts behind Vancouver’s playoff run. Size is a pretty big concern, but his willingness to battle coupled with his offensive ability make Gallagher a player that will be worth spending a mid round selection on.” When the Montreal Canadiens were on the clock in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, they selected Gallagher at 147th overall and due to the fact that he is now playing in the NHL, it looks like he was more than worth spending a mid round selection on.
Before turning pro, Brendan Gallagher played in the WHL for the Vancouver Giants. He appeared in 244 games over the span of four seasons in Rain City where he established himself as a player who is not afraid to get into the dirty areas, crash the net and give it all he has each and every night. Brendan always gives some credit to his father, Ian, who is the strength and conditioning coach for the Giants for how he has progressed over the years. His point production while suiting up for Vancouver was outstanding as he had 280 points total, the most coming in his third year with 91 while wearing the ‘A’ on the front of his jersey. In his final season, which was in 2011-2012, Gallagher was able to show a bit of what he can bring to the table when the Montreal Canadiens gave him a shot in the preseason games. Following that, Gallagher signed his entry-level deal with the Habs in November, made Team Canada for the World Juniors Championship, where he finished with 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points in 6 games and brought home a bronze medal. A couple days after returning from the tournament, Gallagher was named captain of his junior team following the trade that saw the previous captain dealt. The Edmonton native more than proved himself at this level but the question then became, will Gallagher be able to produce when he turns pro?
Due to the lockout, all the young kids who graduated from junior level or were done with school were unable to attend Canadiens’ camp because there just simply wasn’t one. They all headed to Hamilton to play for Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the Bulldogs. Gallagher was one of those players that would be lacing up for Hamilton for this season and he definitely made his mark. Gallagher’s fantastic work ethic, quick and accurate release on his shot and nose for the net saw him rise to the top of Hamilton’s team stats. Regardless of being on the smaller side of things, Brendan plays like he is a foot taller and does not care about getting into the face of the opposition’s goaltender; it is what he has to do to be successful in his career. With the Bulldogs, Gallagher posted 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 36 games on a very young, inexperienced Hamilton team. It was known that the Bulldogs would probably have a rough year due to the amount of rookies as well as those teams that benefited from having players that most likely would have been up with their parent clubs. However, Gallagher was a bright spot within the roster and fans appreciated his effort as the “little ball of hate” became a favourite in Steel City.
Photo: Paul Chiasson, Canadian Press
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs and their fans, but great for Gallagher himself as well as the Habs, Brendan made the Canadiens out of the short training camp when the lockout ended. Everything that he is known for as well as loved for from how he played and conducted himself in the other leagues has been shown in the NHL so far. Gallagher did not play in the first game of the season but has played ever since, providing energy, points and a never-ending smile. He has been driving the net with force as he knows that his one line mate, Brandon Prust, will back him up if anyone goes after him for it or any other reason. Gallagher has formed quite the connection with other rookie, Alex Galchenyuk and has brought life back into Montreal after a disastrous season last year. Brendan recorded his first NHL point, an assist on Galchenyuk’s first NHL goal against the Florida Panthers on January 22nd. His first goal in the league came against arguably the best goaltender to ever play the game, Martin Brodeur, on January 27th. The kid has not taken his foot off the pedal yet and continues to put up points for the Canadiens, plus he always finishes his check.
In addition to having the skill, drive and intelligence on the ice, Gallagher is an overall great guy that the Montreal organization and fans will love for many years to come. As long as he continues to do everything that has made him successful to this point, there is no doubt he will make goaltenders around the league rattled with his net presence and register a plethora of points throughout his career. Additionally, Gallagher has the perfect role model in Montreal with Brian Gionta as captain, a player of similar size to “look up to” and use as an example on how to make it in this league. So sit back and enjoy the ride, oh and get used to seeing that contagious smile. Hopefully no one knocks out one or more of his pearly whites.
Brendan Gallagher, you were the diamond in the rough of the 2010 draft. What a steal.