Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher acknowledged Tuesday that, for the first time in his career, the drag of a long season wore on him during the 2021-22 campaign.

Speaking on TSN Radio 690 Montreal, Gallagher reflected on his and the Canadiens struggles as a whole in the 2021-22 season.   

"We played a ton of hockey and I just wasn't able to get my body to where it needed to be," Gallagher said. "As the year went on it just felt like everything was piling on and that’s the tough thing about sports."

The 30-year-old finished with seven goals and 24 points in 56 games this season after being limited to 35 games in 2020-21. Signed through 2027 at a cap hit of $6.5 million, Gallagher added he remains confident in his ability to hold up moving forward in his career.

"I understand everyone asking those questions and I understand where they’re coming from but at the same time... there’s stuff that I’m dealing with here but I’m comfortable going into next year," Gallagher said.

Gallagher- I feel like my body let me down last year

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The Canadiens made multiple changes as the team struggled to a last place-finish this season, including firing general manager Marc Bergevin on Nov. 28 and replacing him with Kent Hughes later in the year.

Gallagher said Tuesday he appreciated the accomplishments made in Bergevin's 10 years with the club, but also recognized the need to move forward in a different direction.

"First and foremost it kind of speaks to the tenure that Bergevin had – not a lot of people are capable of spending a decade in Montreal as general manager," Gallagher said. "He came in and his mission was to change the culture and to change the thinking of how the organization ran, and for years it worked - we were always a very good team, always found a way to get back to the top.

 "I really appreciate Bergevin's time here but now the new management with [vice president] Jeff [Gorton] and [Hughes] – it does feel similar, they're coming in with new, fresher ideas, a little bit of fresh life.

"They have an idea of how our team operates, they have an idea of what they need to make these changes to get us back to where we want to be."

After a season that saw a front-office overhaul and Martin St. Louis named head coach, the changes have continued this month with the trade that saw the contract of former captain Shea Weber moved to the Las Vegas Golden Knights for Evgenii Dadonov.

"Weber had such a big impact on every single player he played with, every single staff member around the rink" said Gallagher. "He was such a role model for older player and younger players, the way he led, the way he battled through injuries; it seemed like for years he just found a way to get his body ready to play. He put his body through everything, and as a teammate that’s just something you appreciate because you knew he was doing it for the team."

 "It’s just unfortunate," Gallagher added of the trade, "in my mind he’s a pretty easy hall of famer and whenever you get a chance to be around those kinds of players you try to soak up as much information as you can."

The loss of Weber presents another problem for the Canadiens - their need for a new team captain, though Gallagher doesn't see any shortage of options on the team's roster.

"We have a lot of guys in the locker room that are capable of being leaders and the bottom line is no matter who is wearing the 'C' we are going to need a lot of guys to step up in a lot of different ways." the 10-year veteran said.