Over a year ago now, I wrote an article on Brad Marchand, delving in to some of the strange numbers in his career to that point. I had painted a picture of optimism, but still fell short on his production these past two seasons. With him being thrust back into the spotlight for reasons other than his scoring stats, it felt like a good time to move on to the next player conundrum. Really, Marchand just gets talked about too much, so won’t be mentioned again in this article.
In the meantime, we feature another pest due for a breakout, (who does things the right way) Brendan Gallagher. You may be asking what a 26-year old who just set his career high at 54 points can do for you in fantasy. The answer is, quite a lot actually. Here’s why.
Gallagher was drafted 147th overall in 2010. As a smaller player, not much was expected of him. However, with the game evolving towards speed and skill, Gallagher’s expectations outgrew his frame. His scoring output has varied greatly year to year, as he has been hit by cold streaks, injuries, and struggling teammates. Gallagher even started last year off on a big cold streak, but he turned it around to the tune of his first 30-goal season.
The Canadiens right winger was one of the lone bright spots in their season, and will be a key cog in getting them back on the right track next year. Carey Price may be the backbone of the team, but Gallagher is the straw that stirs the drink. His antics on the ice provide good energy, his penalty differential is great (drawing twice as many penalties as he takes), and his shot ratios are constantly on the rise.
Since Gallagher’s first season in the 2013 lockout year, his shot rates have gone up every year except for 2016-2017. We’ll give him a pass on that season too, since it was the year he missed time due to a broken hand. His shot rates at the beginning and end of the season were still high, it was only in the middle of the season around the injury where they fell off.
Furthermore, Gallagher’s consistency with his shooting is commendable. He doesn’t pad numbers with the odd 12-shot game. He only twice hit seven shots in a game, never going above that number. On the flip side, out of 82 games last season, there was only a single contest in which he did not register a shot. There aren’t many better volume shooters available right now.
On top of his strong shooting numbers, Gallagher does a good job at contributing in other areas as well. As was said earlier, he doesn’t take too many penalties, but he has evolved to bring his hits numbers over one per game, while averaging about one block every two games over his career as well. Gallagher also scored his first career shorthanded goal this season for leagues that count it, but don’t worry about him losing productive ice time. Less than five percent of his ice-time comes down a man.
For those leagues that count faceoffs as well, Gallagher registered 85 of those, also a career high. With Montreal struggling at centre, it is possible that the right winger sees an uptick in faceoff wins, earning some extra value at one of the shallowest positions in fantasy.
Gallagher’s contract is another reason he gains value in certain leagues. His $3.75 million price tag is much below market value for the points he produces, let alone everything else he brings to the table. It doesn’t expire until the summer of 2021 either, so it will only look better from here on out. Take Victor Arvidsson as a comparison. He signed last summer for $4.25 million per season, and the contract was lauded as a big bargain for Nashville. Arvy is also a volume shooter, and on the smaller end of the size spectrum. The two are very comparable, and they are both entertaining to watch when they fly into the corners and to the front of the net with a reckless abandon.
It boggles the mind that Gallagher’s contract doesn’t get more love as one of the better bargains in the league right now.
One downside to the “reckless abandon” mentioned above, is that Gallagher has twice broken fingers, and missed games here and there due to other smaller nagging injuries. On one hand, these finger/wrist injuries are one-time things, and not likely re-occurring. On the other hand (pun totally intended), when multiple injuries occur in the same general area, one starts to wonder when it becomes a pattern and not just a coincidence. For now, I am leaning the latter, but be wary if there are hints of any other nagging injuries anywhere from the elbow down.
Brendan Gallagher has all of the pieces and hints at showing that he could put them all together as a late-breakout type of player. We have seen a few of those recently, however none of them have done it on such a middle-of-the-road contract like the one currently employing Gallagher. If Montreal can get a healthy and productive season out of cornerstones, Carey Price, Shea Weber, and Max Pacioretty, we could see the first-line right winger ride that wave all the way to another career season (his previous career best was a 0.75 points per game pace in 2015-2016).
I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb here and say that we see a point-per-game season from Brendan Gallagher in 2018-2019.
Recent Capped articles:
Reviewing Hits and Misses – Part 1
Reviewing Hits and Misses – Part 2
That caps off another Thursday.
If you want to talk hockey, salary caps, or anything even remotely related, you can find me on twitter any day of the week @alexdmaclean
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