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Brendan Gallagher signs six-year extension with the Montreal Canadiens

He will become the highest paid forward on the team.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens and Brendan Gallagher have agreed to a six-year contract extension which will keep the forward with the team and avoid free agency.

The news comes a day after reports that talks between Gallagher and the team had broken off.

Like Jeff Petry, who was signed earlier in the off-season, Gallagher was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season. The new contract brings with it a cap hit of $6.5 million per season and will start for the 2021-22 season. When the contract expires he will be 34 years old.

This makes Gallagher the highest paid forward on the team, surpassing Jonathan Drouin’s $5.5 million cap hit. Gallagher had been one of the biggest bargains in the NHL coming off of six-year contract where he had a cap hit of $3.75 million.

The 5’9” forward has been one of the biggest success stories in the team’s recent history, going from fifth-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft to a top line forward. The Edmonton native has 173 goals and 161 assists (334 points) in 547 career games. In 49 career NHL playoff games he has 11 goals and 14 assists.

Last season he had 22 goals and 21 assists in 59 games. He added a goal and three assists in nine playoff games. Gallagher missed the team’s final game in the playoffs with a broken jaw but was also dealing with a hip tear throughout the post-season.

The contract includes a modified No Trade Clause, and a full No Movement Clause which means Gallagher will need to be protected in the expansion draft and cannot be sent to the minors or put on waivers.