After WHL beginning, Gallagher looking to join NHL
Every NHL camp has a feel good story, and the for the Montreal Canadiens this year, that story was Brendan Gallagher’s. The 147th overall fifth round pick surprised many with a strong camp and almost made the opening roster despite his age and relatively small size at 5’8″ (insert Habs size joke here).
Born May 6, 1992 (age 19) in Delta, BC, CAN
Gallagher, the Vancouver Giants standout, put up 31 points in 51 games during his rookie season in the WHL in 2008-2009 before breaking out the following year with an 81 point campaign.
Despite leading the Giants in goals and putting up over a point per game in the playoffs, size concerns made Gallagher drop to the fifth round of the draft.
Undeterred, Gallagher put up 91 points last year, falling just four goals shy of reaching Evander Kane’s team record for goals in a season (48), and earning a WHL first team all-star selection.
Despite being an early cut at both the Canadiens 2010 camp and the Team Canada’s 2011 World Junior camp, Gallagher arrived in Montreal for the opening of the 2011 camp determined to make an impression and keep his NHL dream alive in his last chance to impress before being eligible to return to the 2012 draft pool.
Suffice to say, Gallagher’s take-no-prisoners attitude lent itself towards a sensational, head-turning camp that put him not only on Montreal’s radar but Team Canada’s as well.
Aided by daily summer training with his father, who is also the Vancouver Giants’ strength and conditioning coach, Gallagher made his impression by outmuscling 200 lb defenders in camp and channeling the spirit of a man hated in Montreal: Brad Marchand.
Gallagher was eventually cut late by the Canadiens, but did outlast more hyped Habs prospects such as Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi, impressing both his teammates and coach Jacques Martin.
Gallagher was returned to Vancouver but the feeling is that if he can improve his skating this season and over the summer, he won’t be going anywhere but to Montreal next year.
In the meantime, Gallagher will most likely survive Team Canada’s 2012 World Junior training camp and could even crack the team’s top six seeing as Giant’s bench boss Don Hay will also hold the duties for Team Canada.
He may be short, but it’s looking as though his career in the NHL will be long.