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The Canadiens Would Be Wise To Trade Josh Anderson Soon

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis addressed the media on Friday afternoon, with a healthy share of the press conference revolving around the play of veteran Josh Anderson.

Anderson, who is returning from a 2-game suspension following a dangerous hit on Golden Knights defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, has produced a decent amount of offence this season, with 3 goals and 2 assists in 12 games, but his overall game has left a lot to be desired.

When pressed upon what aspects of Anderson’s game could stand to improve, St-Louis made sure to point out his veteran winger’s strengths first and foremost.

“I don’t know if there’s anything specific,” said St-Louis. “He needs to continue to evolve as a player. He has a lot of strengths.”

St-Louis eventually acquiesced,  pointing out a style issue that may be holding Anderson back.

Anderson’s status as a power forward cannot be disputed. We have ample evidence that his north-south style can be effective in many situations, but statistically speaking, it has not meshed very well with St-Louis’ system, or rather, his concepts.

“Josh has a lot of speed,” said St-Louis. “But you don’t need to go 100 miles per hour all the time in every shift, because sometimes you’ll miss your exit. I think he’s improved a lot in that respect. He’s controlling his speed. We want him to play with speed, but it’s about knowing when to speed up and slow down, to control the game. It’s not just about going where he wants to go, but rather going to where he should be.”

The clash in the style of play was particularly evident when Josh Anderson was used on the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

Together, the trio controlled just 15 percent of the high-danger chances, a number that has jumped to 50 percent now that Kirby Dach has taken his place.

Anderson’s north-south style of play mitigated the scoring chances Suzuki and Caufield tend to generate off the cycle. The pair is at its best when they have control of the puck in the offensive zone. It leads to sustained pressure, which eventually turns into goals.

That wasn’t the case with Anderson.

“We’re trying to help every player become more complete,” said St-Louis. “So they have a better chance to become more productive on the ice. Not necessarily in production, but their overall impact on the team.”

St-Louis is referencing Anderson’s underlying numbers, which have been among the worst on the team since the start of the year in key statistical categories such as shot control and high-danger scoring chance control.

There’s definitely room for improvement, seeing as Anderson has produced much better numbers in the past, but beyond the lack of chemistry with his linemates this season, the 28-year-old knows he needs to do his part.

“I don’t think I’m generating enough shots right now,” said Anderson.

Anderson is currently taking 5.8 shots per 60 minutes of 5v5 ice time, the lowest shot rate since his rookie year with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The question remains, can Anderson fit into the new identity the Canadiens have established, one that focuses on puck control rather than chances off the rush?

“For so many years I’ve played my game,” he said. “I’m trying to learn new aspects, to be a different player and bring more things. That’ll not only help me but my linemates out there, and that will hopefully contribute a little more. There’s a fine line. You don’t want to lose the game you’re used to playing, but it takes time. You have to stay on it and continue to learn.”

There’s still time to learn, however, there’s also the matter of statistical primes.

Most forwards peak around the age of 23, and then see a significant collapse in numbers once they start to approach 30 years old.

These statistical primes are simply averages, which means some players will buck the trend and surpass all expectations into their 30s, as was the case with Shea Weber.

But Anderson is already showing signs he’s slowing down, not just when it comes to his underlying numbers, but his overall production as well.

With 5 years left on a contract that carries a $5.5 million annual average value, Kent Hughes may want to start making calls to his fellow general managers, to gauge the interest in Josh Anderson.

His play may be declining, but he still carries a solid reputation around the league given his style of play, a reputation that may just entice a team competition for a playoff spot to add the rough-and-tumble forward to their lineup.

But with the way things are going, that reputation will not last long.

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Jimmy Panagoulias

Only way Josh Anderson will get traded if
They’re a N.H.L G.M who has a beautiful dream of John Anderson scores the Stanley cup winning goal for his team and he wakes up, calls Kent Hughes and give in his trade demands. Same for Brendan Gallagher.

Billy739

Hughes already said he has offers on the table for Anderson.
He’s just unwilling to give away Anderson for nothing .

Its more likely a team makes a deal like VGK to move Karlsson for Anderson.
VGK save 400k a year over 5 years adding a player who’s a physical goal scorer moving out their Logjam at Center via Karlsson ever since Stephenson and Eichel joined VGK he’s been in the way.(also declining yearly since signing his new deal)

Upside here for MTL is Karlsson is a Center and a good one who’s decline not hitting 50pts again since signing his deal. 5.9m for 30-40pts has him in a Drouin type situation right now where he’s not earning his pay as Points define his role he was signed to play.

As bad as all that sounds i think in MTL he’ll rebound.
We’ll be trading both Monahan and Dvorak soon .
That void can be absorbed by Karlsson who will be the most used he’s been since his coming out party his first year in VGK . MTL needs a playmaker desperatly and that despite some of his issues is a strength for Karlsson. Possesion in the faceoff Cicle is where it starts and Karlsson activating the play at the OZ Blue line is why often he’ll be on the ice for goals he gets no points for.

MTL needs that right now badly but after the TDL more then ever.
Slafkovsky stands to gain the most from it as he’ll be given a bonafide pass first playmaker who can help elevate him and help him jump to the speed of North American Small Ice faster.

That’s just 1 scenario where MTL can move him without paying a dime.
I can come up with many many more but its all moot as Hughes said unless there’s a profit to be made he’s not shopping him just listened to NYI and TML offers all summer.

habbernack

Maybe Torts will want him back. Doesn’t really add to any line.

Billy739

I can prove this a lie

MSL first move was Anderson -Suzuki-Caufiled .
Caufield went from i think it was 1 goals 8 assists in 37 games .
First Period of their 1st/22 games together saw Caufield score.

If Memory serves
Caufield 16 goals and 25 points in 22 games
Suzuki has 20 points in 22 games and Anderson had 16 points in 22 games (4 multi point)

They were only split up due to injuries
While Dach was covered in Detail by the Athletic about his OZ Entry numbers being high and the benefit of it. They as detailed as they are wouldnt suggest Anderson didnt help evelate Suzuki and Caufield.

They’d instead focus on how Anderson helped elevate them the same was Thompson did year 1 for the rookies . That each year someone else has stepped in and helped mold them into influential players whom after hitting new heights need new teachers and eventually Partner.

Because Dach’s better at something doesnt mean Anderson sucks.
Its just means we now have 2 dominant Power Forwards who know how to dominate the Offensive Zone Blueline using their size. Given the number of Power Forwards we got who cant all say that i think we shouldnt overlook Andersons value.

For me i think Owen Beck and Josh Anderson are going to be a hell of a 3rd line duo that will be hard to stop based on both possessing complimentary styles and skills. Especially if Slafkovsky finally bonds with someone and we find ourselves a couple Twin Towers

Jay

Very thoughtful and insightful analysis there, loved reading it and agree with most of what you say. As for JA and Beck forming a 3rd line duo, you have to think that if Hughes prefers to be free of that contract while JA is at least playing in the top 6, he won’t wanna be paying 5.5 mil for a third liner, neither. Just my thoughts on it, and I really agree when you say there are other value points with JA that he brings and that we should also consider.

Michael Russell

The suggestion that Josh Anderson is always skating at full speed and needs to slow down sometimes, reminded me of when my father took me to a Canadiens game and there was a black player on the opposing team named Reggie Savage who was one of the fasted skaters I had ever seen. He was always skating at full speed every time he went on the ice. I remember commenting to my father that maybe if Reggie Savage slowed down a little, then perhaps he would be a more productive hockey player as it is hard to make plays when you are travelling 100 miles per hour. .. .

Billy739

Pass

He’s got Value and to me i liked him beside Beck.
With Beck tearing the OHL a new Ahole and a final cut from Camp.
I’ve got little doubt that dominant Center with 72% faceoffs in camp will be in MTL.

Truth is i like the idea of Anderson on 3rd line with Gallagher and Back.
With Mesar and Slafkovsky on 2nd with likely an unknown on their line.
MTL actually has the depth to make this work long term especially with Pitlic- Evans-Armia on 4th line offering us Defensive upside.

Thats a team with Size and Skill before the NHL draft this summer.
After it this core built on our Youth Dcore could go on a deep run.
Allen/Monty has been playing sharp but we need to upgrade Allen or Monty for a run.
That’s our biggest issue right now is Primeau is our Huet inbetween our Roy and Price, it will take years to find a new GOAT although i maintain its Dichow who will take that role. His path to the NHL is different but he was Pro before Price despite having a much larger frame to learn how to adjust to. No reason with the right back up in the right system that he cant dominate atleast at a Bobrovsky level if nothing else.

Bradford

With all respect, this seems flawed to me. Lots of power forwards are immensely valuable to teams into their 30s–Corey Perry an extreme case. But Tyler Toffoli got us a 1st rounder and more in a trade at 30 years old: no way Josh Anderson gets less as return–he’s a stud NHL power forward who drives play like a monster frightening NHL defenses.

In a tiny sample size what he did or didn’t do with Suzuki-Caufield is surely bad argument: maybe those two didn’t adapt?

I would say, at best, with a player of Anderson’s capabilities it’s a least 50% MSL’s responsibility to adapt his “concept” to get high returns for a high value blue chip NHL asset.

In a way this sounds exactly like Chicago with Dach–focused on his relative weaknesses (like blaming Gretzky for not laying the body on enough or blocking enough slapshots on the PP) and sold him at a discount when he’s clearly a borderline superstar.

Here’s Jack Han in this regard: https://jhanhky.substack.com/p/how-to-ruin-a-player

“Why then are so many players, in the prime of their fleeting athletic careers, wasted by the same organizations that have so much to gain from their ongoing success?

Smart teams:

Leverage a player’s Signature Skills (high frequency, high success) to build confidence (player to self) & trust (player to coach)Expand a player’s comfort zone by uncovering underutilised assets (low frequency, high sucess actions)Use the developmental momentum to Address a player’s high-frequency weaknessesAggressively Ignore a player’s low-frequency weaknesses (like DZ coverage for a winger) and chalk it up as a cost of doing business with that uniquely talented playerDumb teams:

Fixate on weaknesses at the expense of leveraging strengthsSpend valuable time & energy attempting to influence low-frequency, low-value skillsDouble down on poor process by accusing the player of being uncooperativeStrip down the player’s unique identity, then sell him/her at a discount.”Don’t be a dumb team with Anderson.

Last edited 24 days ago by Bradford
Pierre B.

I agree with you here that Anderson is a valuable asset and will remain so for some time. If Hughes applies his philosophy of “buying low and selling high”, Anderson will not be traded until another team fully recognizes his strengths and accepts to pay the price to acquire him. Until then, I do hope that the CH can act as a smart team should with Anderson.

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