Montreal Canadiens: The Most Frustrating Montreal Canadien

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Montreal Canadiens fan favourite Josh Anderson has the physical tools and speed to be an absolute weapon for the team. 

But for one reason or the other, he has resembled a dull pair of safety scissors. The things that make him an intimidating presence have seldom emerged this season. Anderson is still 6 foot 3 and 220 pounds, but he has played much smaller.

It’s so frustrating to watch his play slip and with it his production. His confidence has to be fragile, one would think. Watching him play - has served as the picture that is worth a thousand words - it’s like watching paint dry.

He doesn’t play the simple, hard-hitting, go-to-the-dirty areas brand of hockey, which has long made him successful. Certainly, he isn’t playing injured, but amid his worst season production-wise of his career, something’s got to give. At what point does he hurt the team more than he helps it?

You won’t see No. 17 on the ice during the penalty kill. The Habs also already beat the dead horse - testing Anderson on the powerplay. Simply put, Anderson’s 20-goal seasons look to be a thing of the past.

The 29-year-old has played 46 games for the Canadiens this season, posting a 7-6-13 statline. At this juncture, it would take a significant hot streak for Anderson to match his production from the last two seasons. Coming off consecutive 32-point seasons, Anderson would be lucky to match his 24-point season, from his first campaign in Montreal, in 2020-21, which he achieved in 52 games. 

His $5.5 million cap hit carries over for three more seasons after this one. He won’t become a free agent until he is 33 years old. Thanks a lot for that dud of a contract, Marc Bergevin. 

The saddest part of all is that we all know how effective that Anderson can be. His speed is a significant difference-maker and his size and strength combination should make him a matchup nightmare. Joel Armia and Juraj Slafkovsky have successfully used their physical tools for good - Anderson hasn’t. 

A buyout is certainly out of the question and he isn’t likely to be sought after in a trade. Even if Hughes retains some of his salary, his play has been putrid and it would handcuff the Canadiens. In the sense that the likeliest time for the club to acquire a free agent would be in two to three years - still paying for Anderson doesn’t make a lot of sense. 

I think sending him to Laval, while impossible to happen, could be most helpful. Perhaps a playoff run would get ‘The Powerhorse’ galloping again. 

Anderson has played so poorly, it’s genuinely concerning how much he has fallen off.