The Montreal Canadiens will be without one of their most important players for the rest of the regular season, as Brendan Gallagher has been placed on long-term injured reserve with a fractured thumb. The Canadiens expect him to miss at least six weeks, which means he won’t be back before the postseason.
Importantly, that means Gallagher’s entire $3.75MM cap hit can essentially be used as room for another deadline upgrade, given the playoffs do not have any cap restraints. Montreal was pressed quite close up against the $81.5MM ceiling after acquiring Eric Staal recently, but now have a little extra wiggle room to play with should GM Marc Bergevin wish to make another addition.
Still, he’d obviously rather have Gallagher in the lineup as the Canadiens try to fight for seeding down the stretch. The 28-year-old forward is the true heart and soul of the team’s forward group and is second on the team in goals this season with 14. His 23 points in 35 games also put him fourth, meaning a huge part of the team’s offensive attack is now missing.
Despite Bergevin’s claims that it would be a quiet deadline for Montreal, there is reason to believe they could add another piece. The team now sits eight points clear of the Vancouver Canucks in the North Division playoff race (one which seems all but concluded) and still has four games at hand on each of the three teams ahead of them. Should the team go on a strong run down the stretch they could easily secure higher seeding or perhaps even home-ice advantage (such as it is) in the first round.