Montreal Canadiens: Brandon Gignac’s Hardwork Culminated With Habs Debut

Winnipeg Jets v Montreal Canadiens
Winnipeg Jets v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Brandon Gignac’s Montreal Canadiens debut against the Washington Capitals was a result of all the hard work he has invested over the years.

The former New Jersey Devil has stood the test of time, proving that nothing can substitute hard work and determination. While Gignac has seen many teammates come and go. Either to Europe or ultimately calling it a career, he has continued to battle.

So it’s no surprise that when he finally got his chance with the Canadiens, he didn’t look out of place. Gignac formed one part of the Canadiens' third line. Alongside Joel Armia and Josh Anderson, Gignac acclimated smoothly to the Canadiens lineup.

He was never expected, nor should he be relied upon to chip in much offensively. But his speed is a difference maker and I can see a future with him on the fourth line, a la Jake Evans. They play the game on a full 200-foot sheet of ice, and their decision-making is their calling card. 

With all the injuries piled up and a desperate need for help down the middle, Gignac is the beneficiary of blue-collar work. For my money, he was the best player on his line. I would go as far as to argue, that while he has played just one game, he had a better game than both RHP and Anderson. 

For No. 74 that is great news, especially when you take into account his low cap hit. Kent Hughes has done his best to clear out expensive contracts. And adding Gignac and Lucas Condotta into the mix only pushes the needle in his favour. 

But the fact of the matter is that if a 26-year-old rookie is outplaying established roster players, there is still work to be done. Tanner Pearson was another example of a player doing more harm than good for the team. It’s great to look at things from a glass-half-full perspective but overpaid, underperforming players don’t fit the bill. 

Anyway, it was encouraging to see Gignac debut so strongly and it was only a matter of time before he got his shot. It signified that if injuries deplete the lineup, the organization is keen on following a next-man-up ideology. This is encouraging for the undrafted, overlooked players who have to take the long route to the best league in the world.

Gignac watched Pierrick Dube and Anthony Richard depart for other opportunities in the American Hockey League, and he remained put. Now he has put up the best statistical season of his career.