As we expected, the Montreal Canadiens have placed forward Brendan Gallagher on long-term injured reserve as the winger is expected to be out six weeks with a broken thumb. The move will see Gallagher miss the rest of the regular season and open up $6.5 million worth of prorated cap space for the Canadiens ahead of Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline.

Barring other schedule changes, the Habs season is set to end on May 11th. Gallagher’s return date would be later than that if the six-week timeline holds true. That opens up a few possibilities for the Canadiens and the good news is, head coach Dominique Ducharme was confident the forward wouldn’t require surgery.

He broke his thumb in Monday’s game versus the Edmonton Oilers after taking a slapshot off the stick of teammate Alexander Romanov. More than that, Gallagher has a history of hand injuries and multiple broken fingers on this resume.

The forward will be missed as he’s scored 14 goals and 23 points in the season to date, but the Canadiens are a virtual lock to make the postseason now with Calgary and Vancouver having slipped out of contention. GM Marc Bergevin is sure to try and use this cap space to add before Monday’s deadline. The question will be, does he go for blue line help or add another forward?

This article first appeared on NHL Trade Talk and was syndicated with permission.

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