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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens Must Keep Josh Anderson

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are going to have to make some tough decisions in the next coming months regarding some of their veterans, but one of the easiest decisions should be keeping Josh Anderson. In fact, of all the veteran wingers on the Canadiens at this time, Anderson should be the least likely to move and for good reason. Unless the Montreal Canadiens receive an offer that is simply too good to pass up, you can expect Anderson to be sticking around for the foreseeable future, to the delight of the Habs’ young core.

In his most recent press conferences, General manager Kent Hughes has reiterated that he will not be trading every veteran in an attempt to mimic the Arizona Coyotes’ scorched-earth rebuild.

“There are some really interesting pieces here in Montreal that can be built around. There’s a different set of players: We have young exciting players, whether it be Suzuki or Caufield, and we have older, more established players,” said Hughes during his inaugural press conference as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens on January 19. “I also understand that you have to build a team around the players that you have, and that’s going to be a process for us as we move forward.”

Rebuilds of the past, like those of the Edmonton Oilers or the Buffalo Sabres, didn’t lack elite young talent among their ranks, but they did lack leadership figures like Anderson, who could help better support those young players and take a weight off their shoulders early on. His combination of size, speed, leadership and goalscoring ability make him a shoo-in to remain as a major piece of the upcoming roster transformation.

Positive Effect on Youngsters

Anderson has been the Canadiens’ hottest goal scorer under Martin St. Louis, along with linemate Cole Caufield, putting up six goals in his last five games. He’s immediately gelled with Caufield and Suzuki to form one of the hottest lines in the NHL right now. That line has contributed to over 50% of the Montreal Canadiens’ goal totals since the hire of Martin St. Louis. He’s helped create space and time for Caufield and Suzuki on the ice and compliments their skilled game with his crash-and-bang style of hockey, which has given the youngsters more confidence to express themselves offensively on the ice.

McLean's Pub

After potting his first career hattrick for the Canadiens against the Winnipeg Jets in an 8-4 loss, Anderson has already tied his point totals from last season in nine fewer games, all while being on a near 30-goal pace. The chemistry he’s developed with the two most important pieces of the Canadiens rebuild moving forward makes him an essential part of the solution moving forward.

Future Captain

Anderson has begun receiving significant consideration from the fanbase as a candidate for the next captain of the Montreal Canadiens. Having seemingly stepped up and taken on a leadership role during the worst of times this season really stuck out for many within the fanbase, and it’s further cemented by his presence and actions as of late. Anderson absolutely hated to lose and openly talked about how embarrassed he was in some of the Canadiens’ most demoralizing losses this year. Not only did Anderson consistently deliver consistent efforts through the worst of times, he never shied away from the tough questions after the games.

The truth is, there are perhaps a handful of players that play the power forward/sniper role that Anderson does, all while providing top-notch leadership and setting a great example for the rest of the club. As much as some would like to rag on Anderson because of his underlying numbers, it’s also true that some things simply can’t be measured. Anderson’s leadership, his impact in the room and the effect he has on his teammates make him an ideal top-6 forward to retain and lead this team into a new era. Although it would be easy to sell high on Anderson and entertain a massive return, if possible, the potential return he will have in the successes of the club and the culture of this team moving forward will be far more valuable.

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Dylan (The guy with poutine as his profile pic)

Nice piece, Marco. I fully agree. Keeping a couple veterans is an important step that teams like Arizona and Buffalo seemed to forgot. In order to mold the Suzuki(s) and the Caufield(s), you’ll need to have some veteran presence on the roster. Why not a big fast guy like Anderson who hates to lose, wants to stay in Montreal, and sticks up for his teammates? Sounds like Captain material to me.

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