The Habs have wasted little time getting a new contract in place for Josh Anderson, signing their newest winger to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract. The structure of the deal breaks down as follows:
2021-22: $4M, eight-team NTC
2022-23: $7M, eight-team NTC
2023-24: $8M, eight-team NTC
2024-25: $7M, five-team NTC
2025-26: $5M, five-team NTC
2026-27: $3.5M, five-team NTC
The structure of the deal may seem a little odd but with salary deferral and high escrow next season and a still fairly high escrow charge in 2021-22, this type of structure is going to be more common in the short-term.
Anderson was brought in on Tuesday in exchange for Max Domi and the 78th pick in the draft (defenceman Samuel Knazko). While Domi opted for what amounted to a second bridge contract, Montreal instead focused on a long-term deal from the get go. In the process, he ties Jonathan Drouin for the highest-paid forward on the team although Marc Bergevin has publicly pledged to make Brendan Gallagher the top-paid one on his next deal.
The 26-year-old Anderson is coming off an injury-plagued season that saw him score just once and undergo surgery and while he was set to return had Columbus advanced further in the playoffs, that didn’t happen. Accordingly, with the NHL now aiming for a January 1st start, that means that Anderson will go more than a year between games.
Power forwards that can score are hard to come by – look no further than Tom Wilson in Washington. He signed a six-year, $31M contract after scoring double-digit goals for the first time in his career. Undoubtedly, this was one of the contracts used as the basis for comparison in these talks. Heading into this past season, Anderson’s goal totals over his previous three years were 27, 19, and 17.
It’s a steep price to pay but the Habs now have a power forward in the prime of his career and it has been a long time since they could say that. Now, they just have to hope that he is indeed healthy. If he is and gets back to 20-goal and 200-hit form, they’ll be happy. If the shoulder issue is a sign of things to come, it could also backfire spectacularly. Whichever side you’re on with GM Marc Bergevin, there’s no denying that he’s willing to take some big swings. This contract for Anderson is the latest one.