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Gallagher and Anderson would fetch between $1 and $2 million if free
Credit: Screenshot : Twitter
The Canadiens have won again, this time against the Stanley Cup finalists in the East. The 5-3 win puts the Habs ahead of the Coyotes, Blue Jackets, Ducks, Blackhawks and Sharks in the standings. Forget the bottom five, guys.

All hopes of a top-five draft now reside in the abacus (lottery). That’s it.

The Habs are 5-3-2 in their last ten games. That’s better than the Panthers, Jets, Flyers and Kings, who are all in playoff contention.

Suzuki, Slafkovsky and Caufield have been playing like a true first line for quite some time now. If Kirby Dach can stay healthy and two quality offensive forwards can join the group over the next few months (draft, trades and/or free agents), the Montrealers will have a real shot at the playoffs in 2025.

The problem is that three veterans are taking up too much space on the attack. And they’ll still be under contract in 2024-25: Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson and Joel Armia.

Armia, however, after being put through the waivers and sent to Laval, is the least worst of the three. He has 20 points (including 14 goals) in 58 games, and if he maintains such production on the team’s third line next year, he’ll be worth the $3.4 million the Habs pay him on average per year. #LastYearOfContract

Brendan Gallagher, on the other hand, is under contract for the next three seasons… at an average annual salary of $6.5 million. This morning, he posted 21 points in 69 games, accompanied by a minus-24 cumulative differential. Ouch!

He has just one assist in nine games since March 13. Last night’s (amusingly) disallowed goal doesn’t count…

As for Anderson, it’s worse. He hasn’t picked up a single point in his last 12 games… and unlike Gallagher, we don’t see Anderson doing anything (on or off the ice) to try and get back on track.

8 goals, 10 assists and a minus-18 differential aren’t worth $5.5 million a season… for three more years!

I’m going to ask you a question that, on its own, will serve to demonstrate just how overpaid Gallagher and Anderson are for what they bring to the ice: if they were eligible for full autonomy on July 1, what kind of contract could they hope to sign?

Gallagher: he’s 31 years old, he’s been around for years and he’s out of breath… but he has an impeccable work ethic, which can help keep a group on the right track.

Last year, Jonathan Drouin collected 29 points in 58 games, before being offered an $825,000 contract in Colorado. He bounced back and is now one of the best bargains on the circuit.

Gallagher’s season isn’t as good as Drouin’s last year, he’s older and he’s more shifty. But since he has a good reputation, I think a GM would offer him a two-year contract at an average annual salary of $1.2 million. Hardly more than Corey Perry did with the Lightning after his brief stint in Montreal…

However, I don’t think Gallagher would be able to bounce back like Drouin did this year.

Josh Anderson: Anderson’s case is more complex. He’s not yet 30, and he possesses attributes that few other Canadiens players have: speed and physicality.

But he no longer seems driven by a desire to give his all on the ice. He’s feeling a loss of confidence, but refuses to take advantage of the psychologist/mental trainer help offered by the team. Jake Evans at $1.7 million a season gives the team more than Anderson and Gallagher…

I still think that a GM somewhere in the league would dare offer Anderson a one-year contract at a salary of around $2 million, if he became a free agent. Someone would probably dare to take a small risk, thinking that by getting him out of Montreal, Anderson could get his mojo back.

But forget about (good) multi-season contract offers for Anderson. We all know he can score… but he doesn’t .

Anderson should have been traded when there was still time, but Marc Bergevin wasn’t about to sacrifice an asset he’d just acquired and signed…

And Kent Hughes probably never received an attractive offer for Anderson’s services.

The fact remains that today, the Habs are stuck with two veteran forwards whose value is negative and who, once again, are handcuffing them. When it’s time to win, the $12 million frozen to pay Gallagher and Anderson’s salaries could hurt…. a lot.

But you already knew that.


– I’m off to shoot the 10th and final episode of our first season of the Stanley25 podcast this afternoon. I’ll be talking about a player agent who’s been harassing me… it will be fun. Until then, I invite you to watch last week’s episode. It’s full of baby-scoops.

– The Rocket have demoted goaltender Strauss Mann for tonight’s game in Trois-Rivières. Mann had been recalled yesterday, just hours before the Lions announced they would be ending the season.

– On Saturday evening, I’ll be at Station des Sports in Brossard to watch the CF Montreal game alongside members of 1642, Nilton Jorge and Tony Marinaro. If you fancy it, come and join us!

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