Brendan Gallagher and his Montreal Canadiens are gearing up to attempt a rebound from what was an absolute train wreck of a season in 2015-16.
The biggest headline of this offseason for the team, and one of the main talking points around the league since, was the highly-criticized P.K. Subban trade that saw Shea Weber coming over from the Nashville Predators.
“First off, I think everyone was a little surprised and a little shocked,” Gallagher said of his initial reaction to the deal, while appearing on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 on Thursday morning. “You don’t expect two high-end names to get traded one-for-one. It doesn’t really happen that much in the NHL.
“But for us, looking at it, we’re bringing in a player in Shea Weber who does so many things. Offensively has consistently scored 15 or more goals – I think he’s done that eight times. Defensively he’s one of the hardest, if not the hardest, player to play against in the NHL.
“And you talk about the leadership. I think in our locker room he’s going to bring a lot to our group. You know what we went through last year. At times, we showed signs of being a little fragile. We’ve got to toughen up, and one way to do that is to bring in a guy like Shea Weber.
“When you look at everything he’s done in the league, representing Canada, playing in big gold medal games – I think he’s going to understand every situation that he’s going to be dealt with. He’s going to help our group. I think he’s going to make everyone a better leader and feel better coming to the rink every day. That’s what we needed.”
The reaction to the trade was absolutely fierce.
“It was different,” reflected Gallagher. “Certainly when the trade went down, for us to get a player like Shea, we were all pretty excited. Then (laughs) I went on Twitter – maybe it’s because people in Montreal haven’t had that big of an opportunity to watch him play. But I’m sure once he puts on that jersey and the fans just understand how dominant this player is, I think it’ll turn pretty quickly.
“That’s not really for us to worry about. For us as a group, we have a lot to take care of. Looking at last year, no one was happy the way it ended. Coming into this year, everybody is going to be motivated and to have that presence in the locker room is something we’re pretty excited about.”
Source: TSN 1040/ Transcript: Nichols