It has not been an easy few years for Brendan Gallagher. Between two broken hands, and having to learn how to shoot all over again, the road to this year was not one many players would successfully navigate. Since he broke into the league, every single teammate and opponent noted one thing, that he doesn’t quit. Ever.
And that’s part of what made this season possible. Yes, Gallagher is a highly skilled hockey player, obviously among the best in the world. You don’t get to NHL by just being absurdly lucky, at least not all the time. Especially when you’re not over six feet tall. Gallagher always had to fight to prove he belonged on the ice. He’s not a big guy. Chances are if he was, he wouldn’t have been drafted 147th overall, especially when you considered he posted three consecutive 40+ goal seasons for Vancouver in the WHL.
He broke into the AHL, where despite being a smaller guy on the ice, he battled, and fought (literally) anyone who stood in his way. He made the AHL all-star team, but also had claimed a spot in the Canadiens lineup with his plucky style of play, and chemistry with Alex Galchenyuk. As he finally hit his stride as a bonafide top-six player, he had his hand shattered by Johnny Boychuk, and again by Shea Weber, then suffered through a career-worst year where he seemed entirely out of sorts, and out of luck.
Then came this year, with all its ups and downs, the one consistent staying force on the Canadiens this year has been Gallagher, and his never say die attitude. With the team mired in sluggish performances and bad luck, Gallagher took charge and after the game on Monday night, he had finally eclipsed the 30 goal plateau. He did it without the help of their top defender, or his usual linemate and team captain, and with a constantly shuffling lineup due to injuries.
Yet, Gallagher’s play style and hustle never ceased, and it’s paying off in the best way for the Habs. The TSN broadcast noted that out of the 23 players to top 30 goals this year, Brendan Gallagher’s shooting percentage was the lowest out of all of them, a trend on the Habs this year.
Fans and the coaching staff alike should be salivating at that thought, that with a bit of luck, or a hot streak there’s a very real chance we could be having a potential future discussion about Brendan Gallagher, 40 goal scorer.