Trading Anderson Would Be A Monumental Mistake

Marc Bergevin is taking a lot of heat. Some of it is warranted, but a lot of it isn’t. But we’ve already shown in a couple of features what he’s done for this team. One of his most positive actions however, aside from the trade for Shea Weber, is his acquisition of Josh Anderson for Max Domi. Today, because of the horrible season the Habs are having, rumours are circulating to the effect that teams are interested in Anderson.

Of course they are! Anderson is one of the rare power forwards in the game. Except that unlike most power forwards, he skates like the wind. The closest comparison would be Chris Kreider on the Rangers. A mix of speed, skills, drive, grit, goals’ scoring ability and above average play without the puck. At 6-foot 3-inches and 227 lbs, he’s like a train coming at you. The description above is why he has earned the nickname of the “Powerhorse” in Montreal.

There’s currently a debate on social media, with people divided in trying to decide if the Canadiens should or should not trade Anderson in the sweep being done by the duo of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes. Rest assured that Suzuki, Caufield and the others who will stay with the Habs do NOT want to see him traded. As a matter of fact, anyone who has played competitive hockey, particularly where fighting is allowed, understands the usefulness and need for a guy like Anderson on a team, and they don’t want to see him being traded.

The numbers

Since joining the Canadiens, Anderson has played 92 regular season’s games. Here’s where he ranks on the team in several categories.

Even Strength Goals271st
Giveaways per 60 mins0.931st (fewest)

Only Tyler Toffoli has more goals than Anderson in the last two seasons. Only Suzuki, Toffoli and Jeff Petry have had more points than him. He trails only Alexander Romanov in hits. In the playoffs last season, only Suzuki scored more goals than him and he trailed Ben Chiarot by one hit while playing ten fewer minutes per game than the Canadiens’ defenseman. He was feared by opponents’ defensemen on the forecheck.

In the Leafs’ head

Most people will look at the scoresheet to justify a player’s worth. That’s a huge mistake. Last night is a prime example. While fans and media are focused on Anderson’s two goals and his three points, players in the dressing room, particularly Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, noticed Anderson plowing into the pile when Jason Spezza went after Suzuki after he landed a solid, legal bodycheck to Justin Holl. Yes, Wideman and Clague (bless their soul) went in as well, but Anderson is the one who was feared.

You could bring a plug like Nicolas Deslauriers, like many would like to see. But D-Lo wouldn’t have been on the ice with the two kids. And while Pezzetta, whom I really like, could skate with them, he doesn’t have to skills to play with them. In this situation, neither guy could have done anything from the bench. Anderson has the speed and skills to play on that line and looks good doing it.

Avoiding the mistake

Everyone can understand that changes must be made to this team. But Hughes has already made one mistake by trading Toffoli, undoing one of Bergevin’s best moves when he signed him to a team friendly contract for a guy leading the team on offense the past two years. Trading Anderson, another great move by Bergevin, would be a monumental mistake. Why are teams inquiring about getting him? Because he’s a rare breed, a player hard to find as those who have them don’t trade them. The type of player that every team wants.

And guess what? The guy loves putting on that jersey. He wants to be in Montreal. He wants to be part of the solution, not the problem. He is a selling point for free agents with both his testimonies and as a player. And he’s only 27 years old!

More reading…

A Close Look At Bergevin’s Time In Montreal

The Marc Bergevin Era Inheritance – Part Two

The Bergevin Legacy by Bob Trask

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