Montreal Canadiens have placed Brendan Gallagher on long-term injured reserve with the forward expected to miss at least six weeks.
The timeline likely takes Gallagher out through the remainder of the regular season, with the Canadiens schedule set to end on May 11.
Placing Gallagher on LTIR will clear his $3.75 million cap hit for the Canadiens, which the team could use ahead of Monday's trade deadline.
Head coach Dominique Ducharme earlier on Wednesday the team was confident that Gallagher wouldn't need surgery to repair his fractured right thumb. He suffered the injury in Monday's 3-2 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers after being hit in the hand with an Alexander Romanov slapshot.
Gallagher has a history of hand injuries. In November 2015, he broke two fingers on his left hand off a slapshot from then-New York Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk that required surgery. In January 2017, he fractured his left hand off a shot from teammate Shea Weber that also required surgery.
The 28-year-old has 14 goals and 23 points in 35 games this season. He is signed through the 2026-27 season under a contract extension that will kick in next season, carrying a cap hit of $6.5 million.