by Joe Tasca on 02/05/13 at 08:00 PM ET
One of the toughest hockey players to lace up the skates in recent years has been rewarded:
How much do the New York Islanders value the traditional "enforcer" role?
That's a question whose answer got another new wrinkle after the club announced today that they've signed Bridgeport Sound Tiger winger Brett Gallant to an NHL contract....
Gallant is 24 and in his fourth pro season, so his deal is under the NHL's Entry Level Contract rules, but at his age it's only a one-year deal. The Connecticut Post's Sound Tigers beat writer Michael Fornabaio's immediate reaction: "Well-deserved."
Well-deserved, is right. For the past two years, Gallant has gone toe-to-toe with every tough guy in the AHL. Listed at six-feet, 185 pounds, the Summerside native isn't as big as your typical heavyweight slugger. But anyone who follows pro hockey knows that Gallant can chuck the knuckles with the best of them. His tilts with former Islander Joel Rechlicz are the stuff of legend.
Since turning pro in 2009, Gallant has worked extremely hard on his skating in hopes of achieving his NHL dream. Garth Snow has evidently taken notice. When (not if) the Islanders call him up, Gallant will be an instant fan favorite. He may never stick with club on a full-time basis, but rest assured, Gallant will give it everything he's got, and he certainly won't back down from anybody.
Best of luck to him.
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About Tasca's Take
Tasca's Take is written by Joe Tasca. Born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, Joe works as a broadcaster for seven radio stations in southern New England. Whether that's a testament to his on-air ability or because he has a desparate need for money is debatable.
Joe spends his summers playing golf, enjoying the beauty of Misquamicut Beach, and wining and dining girls who are easily awed by the mere presence of a radio personality. During the winter months, he can usually be found taking in a hockey game somewhere in North America. In the spring, he spends much of his time in botanical gardens tiptoeing through the tulips, while autumn is a time to frolic with his golden retrievers through piles of his neighbors’ leaves.