Canadiens Pros And Cons Of Potential Josh Anderson Trade
Hockey analyst Darren Dreger clarified Kent Hughes’ position when it comes to a potential trade involving Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson.
The 28-year-old winger has been the subject of an endless stream of trade talk this season, but according to Dreger, the Habs are in no rush to move him.
“Let’s talk about a player that’s not available, and that player is Josh Anderson,” said Dreger on the latest edition of Insider Trading. “The Montreal Canadiens often get calls on Josh Anderson. He’s a unique player in the national hockey league. He’s that prototypical power forward. The only way Josh Anderson gets on the trade block is if a team persuades Kent Hughes, and makes an offer that the Montreal Canadiens cannot refuse.”
Dreger went on to mention the Calgary Flames as a possible destination for Anderson, a team that has expressed its desire to acquire scoring depth on several occasions.
Time To Sell?
Truth be told, it’s rather hard to believe Anderson isn’t on the trade block. If he wasn’t, teams would not bother calling. This feels like a message designed to notify interested teams that the baseline price for the speedy winger has gone up.
With the March 3rd NHL trade deadline quickly approaching, it’s starting to appear the Canadiens are in a great position due to the lack of talented players available on the trade market, much like last year.
It’s a rather harsh truth, but the leverage provided by a seller’s market is the perfect opportunity to cash in on a player whose market value is already bolstered by his playing style and how NHL general managers tend to value the perception of his overall impact.
There’s also the matter of his age.
At 28, Anderson is at the tail end of the statistical prime for hockey players, not to mention his underlying numbers have seen a significant and constant decline since joining the team in 2020-21.
Anderson’s contract has a $5.5 million annual average value and runs until 2026-27. It comes with a modified no-trade clause, which gives him the chance to veto trades to eight different teams throughout the NHL.
The Canadiens could easily navigate around his contract, and it’s certainly far from the worst deal on the team, but it is one of the longest contracts on the books, and with the team transitioning to a younger core, the money liberated by trading Anderson could be wisely re-invested in assets that will be a crucial part of the team’s future.
With Anderson peaking at the perfect time and his difficult first half of the season in the rearview mirror, there may not be a better time to take advantage of an NHL trade market that’s starving for goals.
Even though there’s plenty of evidence to support a potential trade, the recent injury to Cole Caufield has exposed a significant issue in the organization.
The Habs lack players who can score.
Or rather, they lack players with high-end shooting talent.
Anderson has scored 12 goals at 5v5 this season, trailing only Caufield (17). And while it’s a little concerning he has scored almost half his goals in the new year, when the playoffs were out of reach, it’s still worth pointing out that Anderson creates a lot of individual scoring chances, another area in which the Canadiens already desperately need reinforcements.
His underlying numbers may not be great, but he has found chemistry with versatile centre Kirby Dach and has enjoyed a slight resurgence in that department in recent games.
What an effort by Kirby Dach here, and Josh Anderson cleans up the rebound.
Great skate by Matheson to get that one going ahead of time.
4-1 #Habs and the OLEs are out. pic.twitter.com/EVLBuUJdqX
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 18, 2023
He also possesses the type of intensity and passion that can shift the momentum of a game at any moment.
His perceived value around the league may be inflated, but it’s certainly not baseless.
Few players in the league possess his combination of speed and truculence, as well as his affinity for being at the centre of every altercation, showing an innate and unstoppable need to defend his teammates at any cost.
Simply put, Anderson checks many boxes on a team that has very few contingency plans if he were to be dealt.
All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick
All salary cap information via CapFriendly.
It all depends on the return, and it will take a significant haul for someone to land Josh… I would trade Josh to the Devils for Simon Nemec… that feels like a win-win deal 😉
Don’t know Nemec well enough but I agree. The return would have to be overwhelming. I think there are others who will be traded before Anderson but that’s the uncertainty of the market
I agree. I do not believe that Calgary have the assets that would convince me. Their best asset to convince Hughes is Dustin Wolf, a young successful goalie in the AHL, but he lack the size at 6’0″, 161 lbs. We should look more toward NJD, LAK, BUF or MIN to get prospects or young players with RHD top-pair or starting goalie potential.
I’m curious what people think an “offer we can’t refuse” represents.