Although no formal announcement has been made about his activation from the injured reserve, the Montreal Canadiens will welcome back veteran forward Brendan Gallagher to their lineup tonight. Seemingly injured for this entire season, the Canadiens can now employ one of their best players, both on and off the ice.
After being a strong emotional leader for the Canadiens during their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021, Gallagher was rewarded with a 6-year, $39 million contract extension from Montreal. Unfortunately, for both Gallagher and Montreal, he has been wholly unable to play a full season since that contract was signed. In only 25 games played so far this year, the forward has four goals and five assists for the struggling Canadiens.
Nevertheless, with the Canadiens in rebuild mode, Gallagher is a strong leader to put around the younger players coming up to Montreal. Given his injury history lately, $6.5MM a year is quite a lot of money to spend on a player that seems unable to play a full 82 games, but Gallagher’s leadership should make the contract a bit more palatable for the Canadiens. As the Canadiens take on Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, Montreal is 1-7-2 in their last ten games, remaining in the bottom five of the NHL league standings.