While the Montreal Canadiens appear to be in the midst of a second-straight season without a playoff berth, the upcoming trade deadline does present some opportunities for GM Kent Hughes and his organization to make some strides as they look to build for the long term.
One of the players whose name frequently comes up as a veteran the Canadiens could potentially trade is forward Josh Anderson.
On TSN’s Insider Trading segment, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that “the only way” that Anderson is traded is if another club “makes an offer that the Montreal Canadiens simply can’t refuse.” Dreger cites GM Brad Treliving and the Calgary Flames as a team historically that has “expressed interest in Josh Anderson,” but notes that the Canadiens would “prefer to keep” their power forward because he has a long-term contract that the team views as a solid investment.
For some, this report may cause some confusion. The Canadiens are a team looking to add younger players and draft picks in order to build a future contender, and if, as Dreger says, teams keep calling with interest in Anderson, it stands to reason that the most prudent path forward for their chosen path would be to cash in on their 28-year-old scorer.
But based on Dreger’s reporting and other reports that have come out in the past, it seems that the Canadiens have never truly considered dealing Anderson for anything less than a king’s ransom. While it’s entirely possible that these media reports are simply a product of the Canadiens’ front office attempting to place themselves in as advantageous a position as possible for trade negotiations, it’s perhaps even more likely that the team is genuinely interested in keeping Anderson in Montreal.
Breaking down why the Canadiens, who came in last place in 2021-22 and have struggled quite a bit this year, would rather retain Anderson than trade him is somewhat challenging.
There is a stark mismatch in the public and inside opinion on Josh Anderson’s worth, with executives admiring his blend of size and speed despite significant outside criticism of his performance and cost.
This season, Anderson is on pace to score 23 goals and 31 points. A 23-goal scorer is certainly useful, but there aren’t many NHL players who just barely manage to cross the 30-point plateau and make over $5MM on a long-term contract, especially if that deal takes him into his mid-thirties.
But despite that lackluster production, Anderson still seems to be a coveted player in the eyes of executives across the NHL.
There are many highly-paid players whose play has made them essentially unmoveable, players whose cost against the salary cap far outweighs their on-ice contributions, killing any outside interest in acquiring their services.
Anderson does not appear to be one of those “unmoveable” players, despite his lengthy contract.
There are doubtless many executives who see the struggles the Canadiens have faced in terms of creating goals and believe that, were Anderson on a more consistently functional scoring line, his production would rise to a level more in line with the talent he flashes.
There is definitely some merit to that view, and there are games where Anderson certainly makes a strong case that he’s capable of scoring more than he has in Montreal so far.
One can understand that Anderson has a rare, valuable combination of traits, though, while also maintaining a healthy skepticism over how his game will age as he enters his thirties, especially since his contract stretches until the summer of 2027. Like with many players whose play invites debate over their true value, the reality of Anderson’s value likely lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
But it seems that in order to have any chance of presenting the Canadiens with an offer they deem acceptable for Anderson, a club will need to be a believer, an organization that has fully bought into the idea that Anderson will be able to reach a higher level of production in a new, more favorable offensive environment.
As Dreger mentioned, the Flames have had interest and could be that sort of team. Anderson certainly does fit the type of player coach Darryl Sutter seems to prefer, and the Flames could feel that they’re in more need of a power forward due to the off-season departure of Matthew Tkachuk.
Unless the trade rumors surrounding Anderson become more concrete, though, the likeliest outcome will remain that the Canadiens will simply hold onto Anderson in the hopes that he can be a veteran leader for their next contending team. But even if the most likely outcome is that a trade does not materialize, Anderson will remain one of the more intriguing — and divisive — names in the rumor mill until the March 3rd trade deadline.
Pictures courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
“…it seems that the Canadiens have never truly considered dealing Anderson for anything less than a king’s ransom.” And you thought EDM was nutso overvaluing Puljujarvi. Anderson’s turning out to be a guy that misses significant time from rolling his ankle after stepping on a paper clip. $5MM for a 30-point player? Ooof.
Wtf? He’s not injury prone.
@Priceisright—Here’s a list, feel free to disagree on “injury prone” if you’d like.
3/15/22 — Lower Body
2/23/22 — Undisclosed
1/22/22 — Undisclosed
12/2/21 — Upper body
2/25/21 — Lower Body
12/16/19 — Shoulder
10/5/19 — Upper body
12/12/18 — Upper body
He’s extremely injury prone and only lates 82 games once, and never really came close in any other year.
No. Injury prone is if he has multiple injuries that he was out for let’s say more than 10 games each
@Priceisright – Injury prone = injured repeatedly. He checks the boxes (unfortunately).
So of for example someone missed 2 games 10 times over 4 seasons , you would call that injury prone? Not many players play all 82 games every year.
@Priceisright—Yes, that is still injury prone. Then, you can get into the degrees of impact to a team, based on the number of games lost, and even to the granularity of how critical those games were to the team. A guy missing games against bottom feeders is a far lower impact than missing games against teams that might be playoff-bound. If he is supposed to be an important cog in the team’s wheel, missing big games on a regular basis can be detrimental to the team’s overall success.
A package of Pelletier and a draft pick might pry Anderson out of Montreal.
@rdiddy75 – Pelletier could show even more, if Darryl would get out of the way. He’s not a chip Tre should be tossing away just yet, IMO.
They should trade him. A power forward is nice but that contract will just get worse over time..
Ive heard the devils are the team thats really really after him, and the habs whats the 2nd overall pick from last year the Dman they drafted. So thats that. I believe the habs will trade him and get a really good package but nemec or whatever his name is, even with Anderson and him as the frame work with habs adding some is a stretch. There are 3 or 4 teams that really want him and I believe they keep saying he isnt moving so 1 of these teams adds a little more. For the last number of decades the GMs have been horrible to slightly above average at best. So far Hughes has done nothing but good, with Slaf being 2 yrs away from knowing if that was the right move
Did you make that up? Provide a source bro because I’ll never listen to whoever said that for the rest of MacJablonskis life
Got it my man, its on one of those mostly biased team website but the store is credible. link to montrealhockeynow.com
@pawtucket—If I have to go on oxygen, I’m liable to last an extra two or three years. And that’s only because I know how to use the equipment. It seems like you were referencing @Murphy NFLD, and I’m not sure where that was going, myself.
I get what the Canadiens are up to here. They are playing hard to get is all.
Anderson? Oh no, we could not part with him. He’s so strong and gritty. He’s scoring goals for us, you know. There’s so much talent with him, and he’s under contract for a good while. We would miss him too much that you probably couldn’t come up with a significant offer that would cause us to change our minds. You can ask like all the teams do, but we don’t think we will be making him available. He’s too precious.
I’m thinking the Habs are holding off on dealing Anderson for Pierre Luc DeBois… Makes some sense. Similar players, Franco for an Anglo, PF for PF… Its not an easy 100% sold but makes some sense.
Yeah. Please, B’rer Fox, don’t throw me in that briar patch.
The guy’s had ONE season over 20 goals. He’s constantly banged up. His metrics aren’t terrible, but he’s only average at best defensively. He doesn’t pass, he’s already almost 29, he’s making half again the money he should for the contributions he makes as it is, and he’s definitely a buyout candidate down the road. In an age where major trophy winners are dumped for minor leaguers due to bean counting, NO one is going to offer ANYthing for Anderson. There wouldn’t be too many teams who’d take him off of waivers … heck, there are only five teams in the league with the cap space right now to TAKE him off of waivers.
GMs do silly things for guys they perceive as having rare or unique skill sets. See Gudbranson, Erik, if you don’t believe me. One of them is willing to overpay for the potential they see in Anderson’s size and speed package. They shouldn’t. But they will.
Yes i believe thats more or less it to
That’s why you would make a trade. And him going on waivers is a no go because he’s an asset. Lol. Nothing is going to be offered fir Anderson.
W H Twittle
It’s most unlikely that Anderson gets traded. He’s the kind of player who is worth more to his team than what the market would offer … because his game isn’t all numbers. He is a complementary player who makes teammates better players. He’s the kind of player a rebuilding team like the Habs need. Hughes isn’t trading Anderson… even for a L.A. Kings ransom.
wu tang killa beez
As a Habs fan, I would trade him right away. Not worth the money. He has an interesting skill set but somehow can’t put it all together
A team like boston needs him they’re weak and will get beat up in the playoffs