This is the ‘All Heart’ edition of Under the Radar. Normally ‘under the radar’ signifies something that goes unnoticed or is out of the spotlight. Sometimes in Montreal, especially when the year isn’t going well, all of the attention is laser focused on problems.
So in a difficult season, players who are performing well may not always get the attention they deserve.
Amidst all the negativity, Brendan Gallagher is an example of a player having a solid season. Hence, he is one of my Under the Radar performers. Gallagher leads the team in goals, he’s noticed with every shift and even has a vocal following demanding he become captain of the Canadiens in the near future.
Yet, here is why he fits the profile. He has been somewhat ignored by the media and the NHL in general. Gallagher is not routinely part of the overall storyline in Montreal that has been dominated with the negative stories.
The five-foot-nine-inch spark plug has already eclipsed last season’s total of 10 goals. To date he has scored 16 goals in 44 games, a total that could be above 20 if he weren’t subject to so many video reviews that stem from his abrasive net front style. Regardless of his impact, he has not been recognized with what should be an All-Star appearance as the team’s best forward in 2017-’18.
The All Star format is mostly to blame for Gallagher’s lack of a well-earned all-star nod. That being said, with his style of play, he may benefit from time off. Nonetheless, in my opinion, he deserved to be there and I’m certain that he would have enjoyed being at his first NHL All-Star Game.
So for his continued heart and soul play evident in every shift of every game, Brendan Gallagher earns one of my Under the Radar performer nods this time.
The next recipient of the now widely anticipated and prestigious Under the Radar performer nod is another energy player, Daniel Carr.
Carr began the season in Laval after clearing waivers. Then he had to deal with the loss of his mentor, his father, early in the season. After returning to the Rocket, he burned up the AHL scoring 19 points in 20 games earning himself a call-up to the Canadiens.
Carr went on a torrid pace as a point-per-game player over his first nine games. He displayed a similar style of play to Gallagher battling larger opponents and fighting for space in the dirty areas of the ice, including the front of the opponent’s net. Carr paid the price to be in a position to score.
Carr has put up a respectable 10 points in 15 games and has done so while playing mostly in a fourth line role. It can be argued his arrival was the catalyst for the Canadiens fourth line to burst to life offensively causing them to become one of the team’s best lines for the month of December, which culminated with Nicolas Deslauriers earning the Molson Cup over that time.
While both of these players have not received enough recognition, it was not for lack of effort on their part. Their play and dedication to the team have rightfully earned them the hearts and minds of Canadiens fans, they simply haven’t been given enough recognition publically as it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and for that they are this edition’s Under the Radar performers.