The Washington Galaxy are in a great position as they look to capture their third straight division title. They’ve gone undefeated since the All-Star break, and they just passed Hershey to take the lead in the East. It would have been easy to imagine them making no moves at the deadline, not wanting to mess with a good thing. Instead, though, the Galaxy made a small but smart move, bolstering their defensive corps by grabbing D Stan “Animal” Gallagher from the Seattle Sailors in exchange for minor-league D Woody Fairwood.
The pickup of Gallagher should stabilize Washington’s third defensive pairing, which has been a season-long conundrum. The position opposite Bruce “Boom Boom” Hogaboom has a revolving door, as the Galaxy have rotated between veteran Bill Corbett, young banger Jurgen Braun, and rookie Graham Bellinger. All three have done credibly, but none of them has played well enough to seize the job full-time.
The 27-year-old Gallagher should provide Hogaboom with a strong running partner. He scored 16 points (2 goals, 14 assists) with Seattle, playing largely on their top pairing. He earned his “Animal” nickname for the fierce enthusiasm he puts into his skating and checking, which will make him a good fit beside the pugnacious Hogaboom.
“Did we need to make this deal? Probably not,” admitted Galaxy GM Garnet “Ace” Adams. “But does this deal make us a stronger team than we were yesterday? Oh yeah. The Animal’s got a well-earned reputation around this league, and putting him and Boomer on the ice together should unleash some havoc. Graham will have the opportunity to go down to the minors and play every day, which should help him develop. And Corbs and Brauny will get opportunities to contribute off the bench, where we know we can count on them.”
In the run-up to the deadline, it was rumored that Washington was pursuing a bigger deal. The Saskatchewan Shockers were reportedly dangling D Chris “Lightning” Oflyng, and Hershey was said to be in hot pursuit of them. It was speculated that the Galaxy were also after Oflyng, if only to block the Bliss from getting him. But Adams said that Washington wasn’t making a serious attempt to land the Shockers blueliner.
“You never say never in this job,” said Adams. “But we figured Oflyng was going to be too rich for our blood, and frankly, we didn’t need an upgrade like that. We just wanted a solid vet for the third pairing, and we got him.” As it turned out, Hershey wasn’t able to meet Saskatchewan’s demands for Oflyng either; they might have turned to Gallagher as a fallback option, but Washington beat them to it.
For Seattle, the 21-year-old Fairwood may not match Gallagher in the character department, but he should provide similar production. Fairwood had been playing with Washington’s minor-league club in Baltimore, where he notched 50 points (9 goals, 41 assists) and a +7 rating. He was tied for the team lead in both categories
“I knew I was probably going to have a hard time making my way up to DC,” said Fairwood. “It was a good organization and I’ll miss my friends there, but to get a shot at some real minutes at the major-league level, that’s exciting for me.”