The Montreal Canadiens have been dealt a blow — but perhaps also an opportunity?
On Wednesday, the Canadiens confirmed that forward Brendan Gallagher has been placed on injured reserve with a broken thumb and is expected to miss six weeks.
Losing Gallagher is obviously an unfortunate hand dealt to the Canadiens, who are a far better team with the gritty top-line winger in the lineup. But in terms of timing, the situation could certainly be worse. Six weeks will carry the Canadiens into the postseason, meaning it's possible with five days remaining before the deadline that management could fill the void with the cap space made vacant, before reintroducing Gallagher to a bolstered lineup for the games that matter the most — likely in the first round of the postseason.
For this reason, it might be more of an opportunity than anything, as Montreal is no real danger of slipping from its position in the North Division postseason hunt, even if the Gallagher loss precedes a drop in performance.
General manager Marc Bergevin has proven that he's fully committed to making a run this season, having brought in the likes of Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Eric Staal, Corey Perry, Joel Edmundson and Jake Allen since the start of the offseason.
At this point it would be surprising to see Marc Bergevin not dip more into his draft capital and use a percentage of the $3.75 million of cap space made available by Gallagher's paper transaction.
Gallagher, 28, has 14 goals and 23 points this season.
Montreal is eight points ahead of Vancouver for the final postseason spot in the all-Canadian division with a couple games in hand.
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