A trade that appeared to be in the works for weeks leading up to the 2020 NHL draft was finally executed just hours before it officially began. Columbus agreed to send gritty winger Josh Anderson to the Montreal Canadiens for versatile center Max Domi and a 3rd round draft pick. Montreal found themselves with an abundance of talented centers due to the emergence of 3rd overall pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki, who they acquired in the Max Pacioretty trade with the Vegas Golden Knights on September 10th, 2018.
In making this deal, Montreal gets a player in Josh Anderson with some size and grit, which is something they desperately needed. Anderson is a strong, 6’3 winger weighing about 222 pounds, who has decent scoring ability. He had a career year in 2018-19, where he scored 27 goals and 20 assists for 47 points in 82 games. He also had the highest individual AB score on the Blue Jackets in that season with an outstanding +12.39 and an incredible +25 +/- that season as well. Career wise, in 261 games, he has scored 65 goals and registered 49 assists for 114 points. He averages 14.703 minutes per game and has recorded 611 shots on goal in those 261 games. Anderson has taken nine more penalties than he is drawn in the last five seasons (62:53) but has taken the puck away forty-eight more times than he’s given it away in that same time span (52:100). Lastly, he’s +28 +/- wise in his career, and holds a +2.79 career AB score. He is coming off his only negative individual AB season this year with Columbus and could benefit from the change of scenery in Montreal. He is a pending-restricted free agent and will need to negotiate a new deal with the Montreal Canadiens this offseason. When we ran Anderson through the arbitration analyzer, we concluded that his contract should be in the range of 4-5 million AAV. We will update on this after the contract is signed to show how close we were to the actual deal.
In Max Domi, Columbus gets the help down the middle they’ve been searching for, as Domi will almost certainly slot into the 2C role behind Pierre-Luc Dubois, who is also due for a big raise this offseason. Like Anderson, Domi also had a big year in 2018-19, as he scored 28 goals and registered 44 assists for 72 points. He had the second-highest individual AB score on the Canadiens that year with a +9.33, trailing only Tomas Tatar’s +9.55. score. Also, like Anderson, Domi had a +/- in the +20’s, at +20 flat. Career wise, in 375 games, he has scored 81 goals, and registered 170 assists for 251 points. He averages 16.7 minutes per game and has recorded 796 shots on goal in those 375 games. Domi has drawn five more penalties than he’s taken in the last five seasons (70:75) but has turned the puck over 89 more times than he’s taken it away in the same time span (246:157). Lastly, he’s +4 +/- wise in his career, and holds a +0.15 career AB score. He is coming off his third negative season in the last four years, and definitely needed a change of scenery with an increased role on a new club. He will get that opportunity in Columbus; however, he is a restricted-free agent as well this offseason, and also needs a new contract like Josh Anderson. Anderson and Domi are both represented by the same agent, Darren Ferris, and he will still need to negotiate with both general managers, just with his clients swapping teams. When we ran Domi through our arbitration analyzer, we concluded that his contract should be in the range of 5-6 million AAV. Again, we will update on this after the contract is signed to show how close we were to the actual deal.
In terms of the overall deal, we see this as a hockey trade that makes sense for both teams based on need. However, we think Anderson is a slightly better overall player, and will be a big addition to the Montreal Canadiens next season. The third round pick to Columbus is an added benefit to fulfilling a need, and we also think they did well in this deal. Good deal for both sides. Much more to come, as the draft is still ongoing and free agency begins in a couple days.