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Gallagher on the second trio: Bob Hartley’s idea is enough to make people sit up and take notice.

Even though he’s getting on in years and his body may not be keeping up with him as much as it once did, you can’t blame Brendan Gallagher for not giving 110% every time he steps on the ice. We’re talking about the guy who’s been in town longer than anyone else (excluding Carey Price, who will never play again), and clearly, he’s got the CH logo tattooed on his heart.

His blood must be turning blue-white-red after all this time.

But even so, the fact remains that he may no longer have the ability to play big minutes. His impressive contract ($6.5 million a year for four more years) will keep him in the line-up, but he now seems better suited to a depth role.

On the other hand, if it were up to Bob Hartley, Gallagher would start the season in an offensive role: the former coach told BPM Sports today that he would see Gallagher start the season on the second line. Sean Monahan (center) and Alex Newhook (left wing) would complete his trio.

And clearly, we’re talking about an idea that’s sure to get some reactions, because even if Gallagher’s personal trainer thinks he’s capable of scoring 20 goals this year, we agree that few people see the #11 on the top-6 this year.

After all, there’s a case to be made: he’s constantly bothered by injuries, and even when healthy, it’s clear he doesn’t have the legs to play that many big minutes. On a third line in a support role, he has the assets to help a team, but he doesn’t necessarily have the energy to play a ton of minutes every game.

The idea of pairing him with a very fast winger in Newhook isn’t a bad idea to compensate for his lack of speed, but Monahan isn’t exactly a gazelle either. It wouldn’t be the fastest second trio in the league, let’s say.

As for the defensive brigade, we also note that the columnist doesn’t see Justin Barron starting the year in the NHL. In his eyes, Barron is too often late to the game and he’d rather have Johnathan Kovacevic as his sixth defenseman.

Because, in his eyes, Barron hasn’t yet shown that he’s an NHL-calibre guy. If the CH want to try and win a little more this year, Hartley thinks they have a better chance with Kovacevic.

The fact that Barron doesn’t have to go through the ballot may also work against him. I don’t necessarily think he’s “not NHL-ready”, but I do think he’s likely to start the year in Laval.

And it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for him to play big minutes on a first pair in the AHL.

What is clear, however, is that with the large number of players at Martin St-Louis’ disposal, the battles at training camp for these positions will be very interesting. Both offensively and defensively, the CH has a ton of ingredients to put in its soup (which may lack a little in quality of seasoning, but won’t lack in quantity of vegetable variety).

It will be up to the coaching staff to brew it to give the best possible result.

In brief

– Great read on Filip Mesar.

– Elias Pettersson at number three, that’s a bit high, isn’t it?

– It’s getting worse and worse.

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