Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher received an awfully nice stamp of approval on Wednesday as hockey legend and Habs ambassador Guy Lafleur cited the 23-year-old as an ideal candidate for the captaincy.
“A captain shouldn’t be chosen on the amount of goals he’s going to score.” Lafleur said. “[Gallagher] really impressed me every night I saw him play. He’s aggressive, he wants to win. He gets some bad shots from opponents, he takes a lot of hits, and there’s not too many guys on the team that work like he does.”
Lafleur made his opinion known after passing out the Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence for top student athletes and he’s fairly certain the future is bright for the Canadiens. According to the Hall of Famer, “They did well” in the 2014-2015 season and have been making steady improvements over the last three years.
Lafleur also offered his opinion on Alex Galchenyuk, who he believes is a perfect fit for centre ice. That goes against what general manager Marc Bergevin had in mind at the season-ending press conference when he said that Galchenyuk would likely never play centre.
These are, of course, mere opinions. But the thoughts of Lafleur, the first NHL player to score 50 goals and to hit 100 points in six straight seasons, should count for something. Through 1,127 NHL games, he had 560 goals and 793 points.
Brendan Gallagher will likely never see those numbers, but it’s the intangibles that count in parsing Lafleur’s estimation. All the same, Gallagher did put up career high totals in 2014-2015 when he popped in 23 goals and totalled 47 points.
“I like the way he plays,” Lafleur said. “He shows up every night and gives 100 percent. I think he’s a great influence on his teammates.”
The Canadiens have gone with P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, and Tomas Plekanec as alternate captains prior to this season. They do seem to be intent on naming a formal captain for the 2015-2016 season and haven’t had one since Brian Gionta, who wore the “C” from 2010 to 2014.