How to get the best out of Josh Anderson?

It would be an understatement to say that Josh Anderson struggled this past season. But something has got to give, he can't go through another season like that.
Montreal Canadiens v Vancouver Canucks
Montreal Canadiens v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

One thing is abundantly clear, Josh Anderson hit rock bottom during the 2023-24 season and it wasn't pretty.

But professional hockey players got through slumps regularly, it isn't uncommon for a player to have a brilliant season, then have a forgettable one the next after. Circumstances change, confidence grows and perhaps a different approach to preparation changes things. Whatever it may be, Anderson isn't the first player to struggle and he won't be the last either.

There needs to be something that changes or else he will find himself on the outside looking in. If he can't find his previous success, then the likelihood of him sticking in the lineup isn't very good. That is a bitter pill to swallow, considering that he is getting paid to perform well in at least a top-nine role.

So, with that said there needs to be a solution to start out of the gate when the Canadiens training camp rolls around. Training camp will presumably commence by mid-September and that should be a date circled on the Powerhorse's calendar. The biggest positive takeaway from Anderson's struggle is that up is the only way to go.

Getting back to playing the way that made him successful in the past is the exact approach that he and Habs management need to take. When Anderson is at his best, he uses his speed to put the opposition on their heels, plays a disruptive role on the backcheck and creates plenty of breakaways. Anderson's power game is rivalled by few in the lineup, aside from Juraj Slafkovsky, no other forward can rush the puck and throw their weight around as he does.

Anderson isn't expected to produce like Slafkovsky is, but he is relied upon to be an effective presence. In my opinion, the way to get the best out of him is to staple him to the fourth line and have him get back to the basics. Use his speed through the neutral zone, backcheck hard and play a smart two-way game.

I get that he will have linemates that are not exactly offensively inclined, which makes it hard to correct his shortcomings from an offensive standpoint. But playing against the opposition's fourth lines should be a way to grow his confidence. Then hopefully he can claw his way back into the top nine and be a contributor.