So much for contract talks stalling between Brendan Gallagher and the Montreal Canadiens. Not long after reports surfaced of negotiations hitting a wall, the Canadiens signed Gallagher to a six-year extension that carries a $6.5 million cap hit.

First things first: congratulations are in order for Gallagher. The 28-year-old has been defying expectations ever since the Canadiens selected him in the fifth round (147th overall) in 2010.

Gallagher’s been massively underpaid at $3.75M, a cap hit that expires after 2020-21.

Brendan Gallagher (6×6.5m extension with Montreal) is an extremely skilled driver of offence and a woeful personal puck-in-net-putter.

— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) October 14, 2020

Frankly, Gallagher will probably be worth more than $6.5M to start that contract.

It’s fair to wonder how it will look over the long term, though. He turned 28 in May, so he’ll be 29 when that deal kicks in. On one hand, his play-driving style could age like fine wine. On the other, his nasty, chippy side could put him into danger from all the wear-and-tear.

But, again, it’s nice to see Gallagher get rewarded for being a real gem.

Another bright side is that, even after signing Jake Allen, Josh Anderson, and Joel Edmundson for significant term, the Canadiens didn’t lose out on Gallagher.

That said, with Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault on expiring contracts, the Canadiens aren’t out of the woods yet. It’s also another example of the Habs loading up on term with aging players. With Shea Weber (35) and Carey Price (33) already combining for more than $18M in cap space through 2025-26, there are scenarios where things could get very ugly for the Canadiens. Maybe more quickly than they’d like.

In a vacuum, though, the Canadiens retain a heart-and-soul guy who scored 30+ goals twice, and also generated two other 20+ goal seasons. That included 2019-20, when Gallagher scored 22 goals and 43 points in just 59 games.

Beyond everything else, it’s a reminder that GM Marc Bergevin is eternally capable of surprises.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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