After dealing his team’s captain to the Vegas Golden Knights, Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes met with the media to discuss the trade and answer questions. As part of the press conference, Hughes was asked about winger Josh Anderson, who has recently become the subject of trade rumors. Hughes was transparent about the situation, saying that they have had “many” teams call about Anderson, both around the trade deadline and more recently. Hughes said that while he wouldn’t be actively seeking to trade Anderson, he would be listening to any deal that could help the Canadians.
While Anderson didn’t have a season to remember in 2021-22, it’s not hard to see why he would be of interest to contending clubs. The former 27-goal scorer has the rare combination of speed and power in his game that many GM’s covet, and he’s under contract through 2026-27. While the way Anderson’s contract will age as he accumulates more wear-and-tear on his body and gets deeper into his late twenties is an open question, it’s clear that GM’s are willing to look past those potential issues in order to acquire the unique player that Anderson is today. Whether a trade will actually happen, though, is unknown. But what we did learn from Hughes today is that the possibility of an Anderson trade is very much real.
Now, for some other notes regarding the Montreal Canadiens:
- One of the other Canadians players often mentioned in trade rumors is defenseman Jeff Petry. Hughes has previously attempted to accommodate Petry’s desire for a trade, but has been unable to find a deal so far. Today, Hughes was asked about Petry’s situation and clarified that it’s unlikely to be a deal that gets consumed at this stage of the offseason. Hughes noted that teams are still “evaluating their needs,” and as a result, it could be harder to move the defenseman, especially given that he is 34 years old and carries a $6.25MM cap hit. While Petry undoubtedly had a down season in 2021-22, he did play better after the Canadiens hired Martin St. Louis. Under St. Louis, Petry had 21 points in 30 games and flashed the high-end form he displayed in 2020-21, when he had 42 points in 55 games. So while he’s certainly not an untradeable asset, Hughes’ comments indicate that the contract situations of fellow right-shot offensive defensemen such as Dallas’ John Klingberg may need to reach their conclusions before Petry’s can be solved.
- It was previously reported that Canadians assistant coach Luke Richardson had interviewed with the Chicago Blackhawks for their head coaching vacancy, and Hughes confirmed as much in his media availability, stating that Richardson and the Blackhawks had met within the last 48 hours. Hughes also noted that Richardson was “in line” for a second interview with the Blackhawks and that he would not leave the Canadians for anything other than a head coaching job. While the Canadians’ coaching staff looks set for next season, the departure of Richardson, the most experienced coach on the staff, would create a hole that would need to be filled. With little NHL experience shared between head coach Martin St. Louis and assistants Alexander Burrows and Trevor Letowskithe departure of Richardson would likely mean that the Canadians would enter the market for an experienced assistant to help their young coaches handle the challenges that come with NHL life.