The Canadiens pulled the trigger on a long rumoured trade, moving centre Max Domi to Columbus for right winger Josh Anderson on Tuesday. To complete the transaction, Montreal sent a third round pick (78th overall) in the 2020 draft.
Columbus is getting a centre that had his most productive season in 2018-19 with 28 goals and 72 points to lead the team; that points number has not been seen by a Habs centre in over a decade. That season, he helped lead the team in scoring, rebounding from the previous season in Arizona and narrowly missing the postseason. His play tailed off significantly this season in Montreal. Max plays at his best when he’s allowed to play a feisty style of game, which it appears the Habs asked him to curtail last season. His offensive production tailed off this year and in the postseason, he was eclipsed by rookie Nick Suzuki and sophomore Jesperi Kotkaniemi which made him the team’s fourth centre in the depth chart behind veteran Phillip Danault.
Montreal receives a 6’3″ 222 pound power forward in Anderson, the likes they have not seen in many years. Anderson is not a high-scoring winger, given his career high to-date has been 27 goals and 47 points back in 2018-19. However, he does bring size and grit to the position, which the Habs desperately need. His skating and puck skills are decent and he’ll likely fall into the second line winger’s slot, but can move up or down a line when that’s needed. Anderson injured his shoulder and required surgery last season, which caused him to miss most of the season. He is reported to be healthy and has fully rehabilitated the shoulder at this time.
Max is 25 years old, and one year younger than Anderson; both are restricted free agents. Both teams fit immediate needs with this trade, as Columbus lacks centres at the pro level, while Montreal needed both more size and depth on the wing. This could be a true, win-win type trade that NHL teams rarely complete.