According to Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette, as the Canadiens wind down their season, there is some talk that perhaps forward Brendan Gallagher is playing in his final games for the organization. Cowan wonders if these final five games might be the last ones with the team and notes that Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes might look to unload the final five seasons of Gallagher’s six-year, $39-million contract this summer.
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A player who says he likes playing in Montreal, Gallagher’s most recent seasons with the organization have been anything but smooth. Prior to signing his current deal, there was a hiccup in the extension talks as his agent publicly came out and noted that Gallagher was upset he was being overlooked by the Canadiens and felt underappreciated. That led to a long-term deal signed in October of 2020, one that Gallagher hasn’t at all lived up to.
He’s the highest-paid forward on the team but has only six goals in 51 games this season. At a $6.5 million cap hit, he’s not a player the Canadiens can afford to keep around if he isn’t going to be productive.
Cowan also believes that Gallagher might be open to moving on and trying to get a fresh start with a team that isn’t going through a major rebuild or a retool like the Canadiens are. Cowan writes that the situation for both sides is ideal to make a move, explaining:
This has been a difficult season for Gallagher, who has battled injuries and has only six goals in 51 games. His contract might scare away other teams but, if the Canadiens were willing to eat some of it, maybe a deal can be made.
Who Might Be Interested?
Cowan suggests that perhaps the Los Angeles Kings would be a team to watch here. Not only did they see success bringing in Philip Danault as a free agent, but former Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is now a senior adviser to Kings GM Rob Blake and he’s a huge fan of Gallagher.
The salary cap hit won’t be easy to overlook, but if the Kings can get Montreal to eat some of the money and they believe the forward will rebound, there could be something there, especially if the team lets Dustin Brown and his $5.875 million cap hit walk in free agency.
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