The major changes for the Montreal Canadiens may not come by the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline but make no mistake they will come. When new Habs GM Kent Hughes does start to reshape the roster for the 2022-23 season, don’t expect winger Josh Anderson to ask out because of the miserable season he and his teammates are mired in just months after an improbable run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.
Anderson is just two seasons into his seven-year, $38.5 million contract he signed right after he was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 8, 2020, in exchange for forward Max Domi and a 2020 third-round pick.
“Coming into Montreal last year and obviously going through that year was phenomenal,” Anderson said following the team’s game-day skate in Las Vegas ahead of their game against the Golden Knights Thursday. “It was exciting; the city was fantastic, obviously no people in the building during the year but then in the playoffs, you got to experience it a little bit, but coming into Montreal on a long-term deal, with a great team, I still believe that we can still do some pretty good things.
We’re in a tough situation right now but I think that we have the right people to make this thing work. I love it here in Montreal; I signed a long-term deal for a reason, to stay in Montreal and to win here. So I’m obviously very excited about that and like I said, I think we have the right people to make that happen.”
Ironically Anderson is represented by his new GM’s longtime colleague and friend Darren Ferris of Quartexx Management, where Hughes was working and representing 20 NHLers when he was hired by the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. The Habs winger has yet to get the skinny on Hughes from Ferris but was hoping to do so soon.
“I’m sure we’re going to have some discussions during the year to see what the process of what direction they’re going to go into and see how that’s going to play out” Anderson said. “For now, our main focus is taking it one game at a time and trying to build something here and start producing wins.”
Anderson also hasn’t had the chance to talk one-on-one with Hughes but anticipated doing so in the coming days since Hughes and Montreal Canadiens executive vice president of hockey operations, Jeff Gorton, joined the team on the road Thursday.
“You know what, I haven’t,” Anderson said. “There will be a time and a place for that but we’ve been pretty busy with the schedule that we’re on right now, playing every other day. So, I just want to let [Hughes] get settled too because he’s had a bunch of media and questions that he’s had to talk about. So, over the next couple of days, I’m sure I’ll have a discussion and I’ll go from there.”
After being out of the lineup since Dec. 2 with an upper-body injury, Anderson returned to the lineup Monday in the 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. He went pointless in that game but scored in the 5-3 win for the Montreal Canadiens over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Anderson entered the game against the Knights Thursday with eight goals and six assists in 27 games