The big man made a big impression.
Hitmen defenceman Tyson Galloway flew under the radar headed into his draft year, being unlisted on NHL Central Scouting’s players to watch list on two occasions.
But as soon as the 2020-21 WHL season kicked off in March for a shortened 24-game schedule, his play quickly turned heads and scouts took notice.
“It was a big year for me in taking strides towards the path I want to be headed towards,” he said. “I tried to take everything in and listen to what the coaches were telling me to work on in the off-season after my rookie season and improve in all areas of the game. I think that extra work really helped me in the long run to have a strong year.
“I had a conversation with Hammy (Hitmen head coach Steve Hamilton) and he told me headed into the year to ‘not get too high or too low and go with the low flow.’ I kept that mentality all season and just focused on being the best I could be and not lose focus.
“I’m confident in myself as a player and person that I can be drafted but if that doesn’t happen I’m not going to be down on myself or give up.”
With his strong play Galloway was listed on the final draft rankings, earning a rank of 165 among North American skaters. The offensive production took a jump as he finished with nine points (4G, 5A) in 17 games compared to the one point he had in 33 games during the 2019-20 campaign. And defensively, he proved more than capable to take on tough assignments and more minutes in playing a top-four role.
The Hitmen blueline was a younger one with the graduation of three veterans in Dakota Krebs, Jett Woo and Egor Zamula and the 6-foot-4 defender was more than ready for the challenge to take the torch.
“Everyone wants to contribute on offence but it’s not my number one priority,” he said. “I take pride in the defensive end but tried to jump in and make myself a threat or add a different option on the rush. I got more comfortable to lead the rush and was more confident in myself knowing when to pick my spots and when to hang back.
“Last year I didn’t have the matchups like I did this year and I was excited for that. Playing against the top lines in trying to shut them down, that’s what I want. The added pressure and responsibility is something that drives me and your game grows when you go up against the best guys every time out.”
All the hard work has led to this moment and now all that is left is to see how everything unfolds for the Kamloops product.
“It was a year to prove something and show that I have what it takes,” Galloway said. “I stayed even keeled through the process and tried to get better every day. I know I made strides and maybe in the process I turned some heads, we’ll see what happens and whatever happens I know I showed a lot and did what I could.
“It’ll be nice to get the recognition in getting drafted, knowing that a team wants to add you to their organization but if it doesn’t happen that’s fine too. It all depends in what the team wants and what they see in you. Each team is so different in their lists so you never know what could happen and I’m ready for whatever is to come.”