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Josh Anderson: just 15 points this season… including nine in December
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Josh Anderson isn’t exactly having the season of his career. The Canadiens’ power forward, in fact, is having his worst season since joining the Habs organization.

It’s already been established that Anderson, who plays very North/South, is one of the players who is least accustomed to Martin St-Louis’s style of play… but this year, it’s worse than worse.

It all started with that huge scoreless streak. He finally found the back of the net against Seattle in early December, but it was in an empty net.

He went four games without scoring after that… and he exploded. Between December 16 (his two-goal game against the Islanders) and December 28, the first game back from the holidays, he scored five goals in five games.

Since then? Just one goal, on January 11 against the mighty Sharks.

In other words, the man who often plays in sequence is doing so more than ever this season. After all, he’s only scored two goals since the holidays, which isn’t enough.

In 51 games this season, he has just 15 points. In Montreal, he used to get close to the 0.5-point-per-game mark, but that’s not the case at all this season. He’s closer to a point every three games than anything else.

(Credit: Hockey DB)

Even so, it looks like the man who earns $5.5 million a year until 2027 is spared. We’ve seen him criticized far too infrequently by fans or the media since the start of the season.

In fact, quite the opposite: he’s sometimes warmly applauded by fans, who still seem to believe in him.

Mind you, I’m not saying he should be booed instead. If the fans at the Bell Centre want to applaud him when things are going well and ignore him when things are going badly, that’s fine. A little love can go a long way.

But there’s one thing to be said for Anderson: compared to others, he’s been spared.

Yet he doesn’t play like a guy who should be spared. He got a point in October, a point in November, two points in January and two points, so far, in February.

That means that, in addition to his nine points in December, he’s been downright useless on the ice for no less than four of the five months of the season so far. You’ve got to do it.

(Credit: ESPN)

From December 29 to January 24, for example, he had just one point in nine games. That’s not much.

How much can we blame on injuries? And how much did his four-game absence hurt (or not hurt) the Habs, who almost beat the Oilers and won against the Avalanche without him?

And when you look at his playing time recently, you realize that he hasn’t exactly been punished by his coach. On Saturday, he was his coach’s sixth most-used forward with 14:34 of playing time. #PlayWithMerit

That’s about his average usage for the month. In February, his coach sent him on the ice for an average of 14 minutes and 28 seconds, which is good playing time for what he offers. In January, he averaged 15:47 of playing time per game.

As time goes by, it’s easy to think that the Habs may have missed the boat on trading him.

A year ago, almost to the day, we wrote that Josh Anderson was “the stuff of dreams for good teams” as a third-trio player. Times have changed (a little), haven’t they?

I imagine that a year ago, good teams didn’t necessarily want to take 100% of his salary (I repeat: $5.5M per year until 2027), but he was in demand.

Right now? I’m not afraid to say no, that’s no longer the case.

We understand that Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton like the mold Anderson was cut from. We understand that management may have wanted to develop him as Chris Kreider 2.0.

But the results of the last few months speak for themselves, don’t they? He doesn’t bring much to the rink and he doesn’t help the Habs turn the corner, as they say in the jargon of rebuilding clubs.

In gusto

– One to watch.

– It’ll be up to him to make his mark.

– Three goalies: the Habs’ plan failed. [BPM Sports]

– Jaromir Jagr: a unique vision of sport and life. [BPM Sports]

– Yes.

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