Gerard Gallant

Looking for an All Star power forward who, in his prime, averaged 37 goals, 80 points and 236 PIMs a year? Look no farther than Gerard Gallant.

One of the few natives of Prince Edward Island to play in the National Hockey League, Gerard Gallant was competitive, chippy, sometimes dirty player. His game was as a no-nonsense, up and down winger with good hockey sense and he absolutely hated to lose. Although he was only 5'10" and 185 pounds, he played like he was 6'3" and 215 pounds. One of Detroit's "Bad Boys" with the likes of Joey Kocur and Bob Probert, Gallant became a fixture on superstar Steve Yzerman's left wing in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Although he was certainly no heavyweight, he showed up every night and kept the opposition honest. Much like Kevin Dineen, Gallant showed up to the rink every single night determined that no one would out hustle him that game. But Gallant also had the finesse tools to play with one of the league's most electrifying players in Yzerman.

Not a great skater, Gallant benefited greatly from playing with Yzerman. Yzerman would draw the attention of the entire other team with is chaotic display of puck control and skating excellence. Meanwhile Gallant's job was to get himself open and in scoring position. More often than not, Gallant had a gift wrapped pass on the tape of his stick. Once he had that puck he used his heavy and accurate shot to bury it.

But it should also be said that Yzerman benefited from Gallant's play too. Early in his career Yzerman was all offense, and later became the gritty, solid player that he is best known for. But during those early years when Yzerman was putting up mind-boggling numbers, it was Gallant who would dig for the puck in the corners and in front of the net, doing the dirty work for Stevie Y. Gallant loved to play a physical game, often initiating contact and and hitting anything in sight. Gallant gave everything he had on every single shift.

Drafted 107th overall by the Wings in 1981 out of the QMJHL, Gerard joined the Red Wings during the 1984-85 season. After a season and a half of tearing up the American Hockey League. He stepped into Detroit and added some infectious enthusiasm plus 6 goals and 18 points in 32 games. He wouldn't return to the minor leagues until very late in his career.

Gallant battled some injuries in his first full NHL season - 1985-86. He only got into 52 games but notched 20 goals.

In 1986-87 Gerard proved he was one of the top players in the game. Playing with Yzerman on a full time basis, Gallant played in all 80 games and scored 38 goals, 72 points and had 216 PIM! 17 of his goals were scored on the power play. He was also a big part of a surprising playoff run that post season - scoring 8 goals and 14 points in 16 games.

Gallant proved that that was no fluke in the following seasons. In 1987-88 he notched 34-39-73 totals in 73 games (plus 242 PIM!) while his Wings repeated their 16 game romp into the playoffs. Gallant scored 6 goals and 15 points that post season, but the Wings fell just short to advancing into the Stanley Cup finals.

1988-89 proved to be Gerard's best season, as well as Steve Yzerman's. Gallant was named as a second team NHL All Star after achieving career highs in all major categories - 39 goals, 54 assists and 93 points. he added 230 PIM for good measure. Yzerman, thanks in part to his mighty mite left winger, catapulted himself into a hockey stratosphere reserved only for Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux at the time. He scored 155 points and was simply dominant. Unfortunately the Wings weren't dominant enough in the playoffs, as they were shockingly bounced in the opening round.

Gallant played in only 69 games in 1989-90, but he had another typical Gallant season when he scored 36 goals, 44 assists and 80 points while notching a career high 254 PIM.

However in 1990 Gallant's problems started, as he started complaining about back problems. Those back problems quickly limited Gallant's effectiveness. He would only play in 41 games in 1990-91. He returned to somewhat regular duty in 1991-92 and 1992-93 when he played in 69 and 67 games respectively, but by this time he had lost a step and lots of ice time, as he no longer was a regular on Yzerman's left side or on the Detroit power play.

Gallant played in Detroit until he was released in the summer of 1993. The Tampa Bay Lightning had hopes that he could step into their lineup and fill a hole, but he struggled in 52 games with the Bolts. By 1995 his back gave out on him again. Gallant tried to work through it by reporting to the minors where he had hoped to get back into game shape, but after less than 20 games it became obvious. He also briefly saw time in the minor leagues before retiring and getting into coaching

In 615 NHL games Gerard was a very nice player. He scored 211 goals, 269 assists and 480 points plus 1674 penalty minutes.



awesome he played the game the way it is suppose to be play [TO WIN] all heart very proud to be a friend of a red wing great BIGHEAD

Anonymous,  8:29 PM  

He seems all but forgotten now, but in his prime, he was skilled and rarely lost a fight. Just a winner and I'm sorry he wasn't on the teams that won the Cups later...

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