There have been so many trade offers going around involving the New Jersey Devils. There are some where the Devils are getting huge assets like Alex DeBrincat or David Pastrnak. Other trades have them looking to find assets that make sense for the second-overall pick. Those trades don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
The Montreal Canadiens fans really want the second-overall pick. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has been working hard to improve the team this offseason, and he made the first real trade last week when he sent Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights for Evgenii Dadonov. Hughes in no uncertain terms said he is not done adding. He wants to make the Canadiens better, and he wants to do it fast.
That doesn’t mean he’s looking to make them better now. Hughes is likely playing the long game here. He wants a Canadiens team that could eventually fight for the Stanley Cup. That means he has to get future assets for the dwindling assets currently on his team. That’s why the Canadiens fans on more than one occasion have offered assets for the second-overall pick. Unfortunately, none of those assets are Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield. That means this isn’t getting it done.
The one name that continues to come up is Josh Anderson. The Devils aren’t taking a package for the second-overall pick surrounded by Josh Anderson. It wouldn’t make a lick of sense, and the Devils wouldn’t be that much better now by adding Anderson. That’s not to say they might not have interest in Anderson.
Let’s look at this on the surface. Anderson is a 6’3 winger who has five more years on his deal at an attractive $5.5 million. The issue here is how Anderson played last season. He only had 32 points last season on a dreadful Canadiens team. He has had some good seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the past, but that 27-goal season is now three seasons ago. Anderson doesn’t have the value he once did. However, he can help the right team win. The Devils roster might need someone like Anderson.
Obviously, he wasn’t great at stopping goals from going into his net. That’s how he got to -25 in +/-, but there’s a reason why that stat is so flawed. When looking at other stats, Anderson was on the ice for one high-danger chance against just under every five minutes. That’s also not great and was actually worse than what Ty Smith did last season.
However, this seems to be an issue with Montreal. When he was with Columbus, he never had a negative high-danger chances percentage. He also had more high-danger chances at 5v5 than he gave up. Something obviously didn’t necessarily click in Montreal. Now, his value is lower than it could be.
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Would the Devils be able get Anderson for a prospect and a middle-round draft pick? We think this is something Tom Fitzgerald would be interested in. Anything more and we think Fitzgerald lets Anderson go elsewhere. He’s a good enough player that he will always have an impact on the ice, but he is locked in for five more years and he had a rougher than usual run in Montreal. He has what the Devils want, but so does Brian Boyle. He would come for free.