Reports surfaced yesterday that restricted free agent Josh Anderson has requested a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets, leading to speculation about where his future lies in the NHL.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman brought up the Colorado Avalanche when discussing Anderson yesterday. It’s been known for s while that the Blue Jackets were one of the teams most heavily interested in Matt Duchene. What Friedman points out is that trade talks fell apart when Joe Sakic insisted Anderson be a part of any e.trad
The Avalanche obviously have interest in the right winger, so if he’s looking to get out of Columbus, does this mean the Duchene trade talk can re-start? Maybe there’s a smaller trade that can be worked out between the two teams. Or maybe (likely) this is just posturing from Anderson’s agent to get a contract signed before the regular season starts.
The funny thing about the contract deadlock and rumored trade request is that the Columbus Blue Jackets paid a huge price in order to prevent Vegas from selecting Anderson in the expansion draft. It seems rather odd to do that, and then squabble over a few $100k a couple months later.
So who is Josh Anderson, and is he worth trading for?
In his only full NHL season, Anderson finished with only 17 goals and 29 points. On the surface, those aren’t numbers to get overly excited about, but when you dig a little deeper, Anderson’s production was better than those raw numbers suggest.
Each of Anderson’s 17 goals came at even strength - that was good enough for 36th in the league in 5v5 goals. Factoring in ice-time, Anderson’s 1.07 G/60 tied him with Sasha Barkov for 32nd in the NHL. He produced at this rate while being deployed in a rather defensive role -Anderson’s offensive zone start rate sat around 45% last season.
That 5v5 goals/60 stat has only been surpassed by an Avs player once in the past three years - Matt Duchene in the 2015-16 .season
Aside from his goal production, Anderson is a big-bodied right-shooter and that’s something the Avs could definitely use in this lineup. Of the 13 forwards expected to break camp with the Avs, only three are right-handed shots, Nathan MacKinnon, Blake Comeau and J.T. Compher.
As a left-handed right-winger, Mikko Rantanen is licked into the 1RW role on this team, but after him, you’ve got guys like Nieto, Yakupov and Wilson who can all play on the right side, but it’s not ideal. Anderson would perfectly slot into this lineup behind Rantanen as the second RW in the top-6.
If the reports are true, the Avs have obvious interest in Anderson - and since we can see where he fits into the lineup, it makes sense. The question of cost then becomes a factor.
Does Anderson being available mean the two teams get closer to a Matt Duchene trade? I hope not since the rumored return of Gabriel Carlsson and Josh Anderson isn’t nearly enough for a player of Duchene’s talents.
Maybe there’s something smaller to be done, who knows where trade talks are going - or if they’re going at all.
Let’s not get carried away, Josh Anderson isn’t anything close to a high-end player. He is, however, a decent middle-6 winger that would improve this Avs lineup significantly.
In all likelihood, the point is moot since this is all just a power-play by Anderson’s agent to get a deal done with the Blue Jackets, but at the very least, Sakic and crew should be on the phone to see if there’s anything to be done.