I wrote a piece on Monday about how the New York Islanders could move their 2022 first-round selection, the 13th pick, for Montreal Canadiens forward, 28-year-old Josh Anderson. There was plenty of feedback saying that was an overpayment for a player that has struggled to stay healthy, which has impacted production. Others said his $5.5 million AAV over the next five years was too substantial to take on.
Others said that Anderson is what you hoped for a 13th overall pick would turn into, so why would the Canadians part ways?
All these reasons are just, and it got me thinking, what if the New York Islanders could acquire Josh Anderson while also allowing themselves the opportunity to still be in a bidding war for a superstar talent?
During the 2021-22 regular season, the Islanders saw many players fail to produce. In my opinion, Anthony Beauvillier was the most disappointing, especially after signing a three-year deal worth $4.15 million annually.
It was not even about Anthony Beauvillier’s production or lack thereof. It was the questionable decision-making and the failure to use his speed as a weapon.
Even if the goals were not coming, at the very least, Beauvillier needed to be using his skates to create, and we did not see enough of that. He was benched early in the season by ex-head coach Barry Trotz and even demoted in the lineup as a second wake-up call.
But when the season ended, Beauvillier had just 12 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.
The 28th overall pick in 2015 may need a change of scenery. And what better place to start fresh than in his home province of Quebec? Montreal is only an hour drive from his hometown of Sorel-Tracy.
The Montreal Canadiens are in a rebuild, and adding a 25-year-old to the mix under control, given the young and exciting players already on the roster, could be worthwhile. Although Josh Anderson is a veteran leader on and off the ice, with veteran leadership key in a rebuild, his contract does impact the Canadians’ ability to make moves.
Not only is Anthony Beauvillier from Quebec, but his old agent was Kent Hughes, the current general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, who was hired this past January.
Hughes stopped representing Beauvillier and his 20-plus players when he took the job in Montreal, so their relationship should be very much intact.
Now Josh Anderson is worth more than Beauvillier on the market, so a pick would need to be included to make this deal worthwhile for Montreal. But it does not mean that this year’s first-round selection must be part of the package.
In my chat with Marco D’Amicowho covers the Montreal Canadiens for Montreal Hockey Now, he shared that he believes general managers around the NHL value Anderson relatively high, at more than a second-round pick but less than first.
The Islanders could send Beauvillier and part ways with their second-round pick in 2023. If you believe the Islanders will be back in the playoffs following the 2022-23 regular season, that means the Islanders will be much lower in the draft than 13th overall , which means their second-round pick will be an early-rounder, which makes it more valuable.
And for that reason, the Canadians’ front office should be more than willing to agree to that deal.
What this move also does for the New York Islanders is increase their chances of acquiring a top-flight forward. As mentioned in my article on Johnny Gaudreau, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello would need to part ways with a contract or two to be in play for that top player.
The Islanders currently have $12 million in cap space before signing rising star defenseman Noah Dobson (~$4.5 M AAV) and Kieffer Bellows (minimum). That would leave the Islanders with around $7 million to play with, again before moving a contract like Josh Bailey’s ($5 million).
By bringing in Anderson ($5.5 M AAV) while subtracting Beauvillier ($4.15 M AAV), the Islanders are dealing with a $1.4 million more cap hit rather than just an additional $5.5. That would leave the Islanders with $5.6 million in space before moving anyone. And if Lamoriello does rid the team of one of the most significant contracts, then he gives himself roughly 10.6 million to throw at a superstar.
How about that?
Now, the Islanders are not a fast team by any means. Giving up more speed, in a fast-paced Metropolitan Division may not seem like the smartest move.
But Anthony Beauvillier was not using his speed to his advantage, and again, the ability to acquire that shifty, elite player would still be very much on the table if Lamoriello makes subsequent moves.
This could potentially be the lineup for 2022-23 if that big game fish is reeled in:
Lee Nelson Wahlstrom
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