Brendan Gallagher’s extension earlier this month came on the heels of talks supposedly breaking down. The deal was widely praised but do our writers see it the same way?
Terry Costaris: It’s great to see a good soldier like Gallagher get paid what was rightfully his due. He, his children and grandchildren will have more than enough money to collectively live off of both now and in the future. At the same time, for the Montreal Canadiens, his yearly salary is below pre-COVID market value. So once again GM Marc Bergevin has gotten the most blast out of Geoff Molson’s bucks.
Yes, the term is 1-2 years too long but find me a Gallagher equivalent that would not expect such a lengthy contract. This is the nature of doing business in professional sports.
Brendan Gallagher is a fan favourite and likely the next captain of the Canadiens. He’s a special player who deserves special attention.
What kind of message would the Habs have sent to both its players and future free agents if they didn’t give Gallagher such a decent deal? This solidifies Montreal’s reputation as a classy franchise and makes it that much more attractive a place to play in.
And, yes, gritty players like Gallagher usually don’t have long careers but few are as smart and disciplined as he is. There’s a good chance that he will adjust his game, diet and training regimen to avoid unnecessary wear and tear. Gallagher treats his body on a Gary Roberts/Chris Chelios level. The addition of bigger players throughout the roster also means that he will not have to take the same amount of abuse as before.
So, I’m optimistic that the “wear and tear” narrative from a lot of fans will not happen for at least another 5-6 years.
In a salary cap league such as the NHL, players such as Brendan Gallagher get overpaid in one form or another. In his case, it’s through term. This is what happens to all contending teams. If you want a legitimate roster, you have to pay for it. At least for Montreal, they were able to secure this special talent at a discounted price.
Once again, I have to say, good job Marc Bergevin!
Allan Katz: In twenty years, when the history of the Habs will be written, for the umpteenth time, Brendan Gallagher will be featured. His story is pure gold. The guy is beloved. Every team in the NHL would want a player like him. Late round pick, too small for the NHL, hits the ground running with a combo of talent, snark, and an inner drive that is awe-inspiring. He is an anti-hero with the face and charm of a James Dean.
Bottom line, B.G. could have gotten a much better deal on the open market and now he’s a Hab for as long as he can stay healthy. Guess what though, that healthy stuff is the same for everyone. Max Pacioretty played farther from the net, relying on his well-aimed blasts and he got injured a lot; there are no guarantees. With Big G on board the other players, especially Tomas Tatar and Joel Armia, will potentially move on one way or the other. Phillip Danault would be a shame to lose, but the fact is that the Canadiens have all three for the year unless the Big Kahuna decides to make another trade or two and then we’ll see what happens.
There’s little to break down here except that we don’t want Brendan to break down. Awesome signing and except for the fact that no one knows what’s going to happen in the next year or two on our planet… it’s all good. Next season, with the proviso that there will be one, is going to be very exciting.
Brian La Rose: Let me get out in front by saying that I’m happy Gallagher is sticking around. However, this is not a great deal from Montreal’s perspective. I wouldn’t even call it a good one.
Yes, the comparables in Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and James van Riemsdyk are right within that range. But those deals were signed before the pandemic, not now. That was back when the cap was expected to rise, not stay the same for the foreseeable future.
As I pondered this contract, I asked myself if Gallagher was on the open market now, would he have gotten this deal? The answer is a resounding no. Taylor Hall couldn’t get that type of commitment on a long-term contract and his track record is more prominent. And if you think the market is dead this year, it’s only going to get worse next offseason. Add that to a potential dip in production next season with Montreal’s extra depth on the right side and I’m pretty confident in my belief that Gallagher wouldn’t have gotten this contract next offseason either. Using that logic, it’s an overpayment, plain and simple.
Now, there’s a case to be made that if someone had to get an overpayment, it’s Gallagher. He has been playing on a bargain salary for his entire career going back to when he out-performed his entry-level deal. He’s adored by the team and by the fans and while I’m skeptical that he’ll survive seven more years at the level of punishment he takes, I get that the term was needed to get the deal done.
But it should have come at a lower price tag. I know Bergevin publicly committed to making him the highest-paid forward but $5.75 million or $6 million still accomplishes that while factoring in the current state of the marketplace, saving some much-needed cap room in the process. At this price, it wouldn’t have been done now but it didn’t have to get done this early. It could have gone into the season and Gallagher isn’t the type of player who would have let this be a distraction. He only plays one way and that wouldn’t have changed here.
Again, I’m happy Gallagher is sticking around. But a lot of other deals the Habs have signed aside from Josh Anderson whose max-term or arbitration demand had them in a bind have been ones that could be classified as below-market. This one simply wasn’t.
Kevin Leveille: The heart and soul of the team has been signed for an additional six years! Gallagher deservedly becomes the team’s highest-paid forward as this contract takes him through the remainder of his prime years as he’ll be 35 at the end of it. I absolutely love this deal and honestly thought it was going to end up being far worse after recent reports of broken talks and seeing the agent negotiate through the media.
I really like this deal because I despise the narrative that Gallagher will eventually fall apart because of his playing style and I can’t wait to watch him prove everyone wrong while wearing a Habs uniform. How many times did the Detroit Red Wings and their fans ever question Tomas Holmstrom’s longevity? The answer is never! So why in the world would Gallagher not be able to continue his play until the age of 35? Keep in mind that Holmstrom actually had his career years at the age that Gallagher is finishing this contract. Some will point to Holmstrom being a few inches and a few pounds bigger than Gallagher, but I’ll counter with the idea that the NHL was far more lenient with the physicality, including Chris Pronger cross-checks, in front of the net than they are now. So, Gallagher should have no problem being a very productive player throughout this contract.
Norm Szcyrek: I am ecstatic about the Habs extending Gallagher’s contract. After the team’s other offseason moves to add right wingers Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson, I was concerned the team may have been restructuring their offence to prepare for Gallagher leaving as a free agent, When some hockey pundits reported on social media that talks between Habs management and Gallagher’s agent had broken off, Habs fans anxiety levels must have gone off. However, I realize that type of news “leak” is a classic hockey agent maneuver to help their negotiations and the contract extension was announced the next day. Perhaps that stunt did work as intended. Gallagher is the heart and soul of this team and an important leader on this team. He gives the highest level of effort *every* shift and now he has been rewarded for that.
Dave Woodward: This is a market value deal for a heart and soul player that has been underpaid for years. Pro athletes live a charmed life, many undeservedly so. Not Brendan Gallagher. The fifth-round pick has earned this deal and then some. Gallagher has the heart of a lion.
If you measure contracts for comparable players, the contract is about right as to term and cap hit. But none of those comparable players have the determination of Brendan Gallagher. He is likely the Habs’ next captain and is already their inspirational leader.
If he can continue to perform as he has in the last three seasons, the contract is club-friendly. Unfortunately, I cannot see Gallagher’s body holding up for the full term of the contract. While there’s no question that the contract is well-earned, with his style of play and his diminutive stature, this pundit cannot see Gallagher playing another seven full seasons in the NHL (he has a year left on his current deal). I expect the last 2-3 seasons will be a drain on the Canadiens’ cap space or will be buried on LTIR. However, if the Habs are to win now, they need their inspirational leaders to rally them into battle.