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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
Brendan Gallagher emerged as an important piece of the Montreal Canadiens team through the shortened 2012-2013 season. A late round pick three years ago, Gallagher ignited the Habs offence with fearless and intense play. Standing at a modest 5’8 (5’9 depending where you read it), the little dynamo sparked the team with a raw will to produce in the toughest areas on the ice. He was a fierce competitor in his maiden season, an all around pleasant surprise when everyone was looking for the other Gally to run rampant. His play was impressive enough to gain a Calder nod and the Canadiens, along with their faithful, are hoping for more in 2013-2014.
Gallagher tallied 28 points in his rookie campaign, 15 of which were goals. His offensive stats put him fourth in points among rookies while his 15 goals ranked him second in the rookie category. He was second among rookies in shots with 117 while averaging 13:51 of ice time per game. He missed four games due to a concussion in mid-February against the Philadelphia Flyers but it was an all around excellent rookie campaign for the young BC native. He clicked well with fellow rookie Alex Galchenyuk and was given some time in the top six. His will to go into the nasty areas of the ice, accept and deliver punishment coupled with unwavering fearlessness, Gallagher entrenched himself as a vital part of Michel Therrien’s plans. One of my personal favourite Gallagher moments of the season came off the ice, as he displayed a tremendous amount of respect giving up his #73 for Michael Ryder, without being told to. Little things like that give you a glimpse of what kind of team player a person is.
Season Stats: GP 44, G 15, A 13, PTS 28, +/- +10, PIM 33, PPG 3, SHG 0, GWG 3, SOG 117, ATOI 13:511 Year Average – (Rookie)
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13's numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
Sophomore slumps are often expected after a good-to-great first year in professional sports. Everyone has a theory into the psychology of a player coming off a rookie season where they exceeded expectations. I don’t necessarily see it happening with the young Gallagher, but I wouldn’t peg him to score 30 goals in the upcoming season. His offseason training regimen is top notch, as has been documented since his draft year. I expect him to come to camp in great shape, which will translate into success on the ice. His style of play, brave as it is, obviously poses injury risks. Ultimately, he seemed to ignite some the older guard with the Canadiens while deflecting some of the attention off Galchenyuk. I would expect more of that beginning in October.
Sitting here in early August, I couldn’t tell you what the lines are going to be. As it stands, the Canadiens have three lines that can light you up. Where he’ll be is most likely on the third line, at least to begin camp. Regardless of where he is, he’ll continue to do what brought him success last season, and primarily that was excellent positioning. I’d have to assume Therrien will give him more ice time and that, to me, should translate to a breach of the 50 point plateau. Unfortunately I don’t see an 82-game campaign for Gallagher. You can’t predict major injuries but I can’t see this style of a player, at his size, not picking up a nagging injury here and there that would require a game or two in the press box. All-in-all, Gallagher should trend upwards this year statistically if he sticks to the basics that brought him success last season.
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